In 2003 I went to The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the largest museums in the world and formerly was used as a palace. St. Petersburg sits on the Western coast of Russia and by far is the most “westernized” city that I visited.
This museum has wonderful online resources. Almost all the artifacts are shown through a visual exhibit medium. To me this was almost more beneficial than when I actually went. Besides getting to experience the sheer grandeur of the museum it is simply impossible to view the whole museum in a few hours or even a day probably. I only visited the “Winter Palace” section, which I think was only one side and blue-ish in color. And seriously I felt like I was in The Louvre scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation. There was soooo much to look at and even if you weren’t interested in some of the rooms it still took awhile to walk through them to get to the rooms/exhibits you wanted to see.
Here’s a few that made an impression on me enough to remember:
The Winter Palace Grand Staircase….um I mean WOW! Give me a ballgown right now!
And here is a few of the grand carriages used by some of the Tsars of Russia.
One thing I would like to point out that they could improve on in the future is their photography. The understand that the artifacts do not do well with flash photography, but I feel that with a little sunlight, most of these museum features could be better represented in a “new light”. When I was there it was summer, no doubt their busiest time of year I’m sure, but it was wonderful to see these exhibits with more lighting. They didn’t look so drab and dirty. I think it would bump up the virtual experience just that much more if the photography was a little better and, if possible, taken at a better time of day.
They do have a mobile app for The Hermitage in the Google Play store and on iTunes and it seems very user-friendly. It’s very organized. It has an interactive floor plan for the museum as well as special collections and bios about the artifacts. You can also bookmark special exhibits, save the images, share them in an e-card or upload them to twitter. In their store you can also get free downloads or buy more content for the app like virtual tours, educational courses, or thematic excursions.
The Hermitage also has an exhaustive collection of Virtual Archives on their website. You can look at previous travelling exhibits back into the 1990’s and also see artifacts that have been digitized. The website also has a very good search function.
Check out how old and seemingly fragile this bronze sculpture is!
Bronze Sculpture — Current Exhibit displaying Edgar Degas art.
There is so much at this museum ( somewhere around 3 million items) that I can’t possibly touch on all of it in this one post. Make sure and check out their website and explore the courtyards, theater, Winter Palace, the Virtual Academy, and much much more!