GLAMi nomination: “Forbidden City is a Museum” digital exhibition.

nominated by: meng wu, Palace Museum , China
institution: Palace Museum
category: Groundbreaking

(Due to the web problem, videos and pictures can not be uploaded from China. All the files can be downloaded through the link:  Password: a51j)

Introduction of digital gallery

The Gate of Correct Deportment (Duan men) the entrance to the Palace Museum, serves as a prelude to the visitors. Ascending to the top, visitors may enjoy the vast extent of imposing view and experience an exciting beginning of their tour with state-of-the-art interfaces, as well as digital explorations of architectures and arts. The Digital Gallery at the Gate of Correct Deportment (Duan men) was established in 2015, as a part of the celebration for the 90th anniversary of the Palace Museum. The first exhibit is entitled “The Palace is a Museum” and consists of three sections: From he Forbidden City to the Palace Museum, The Exquisite Selection of the Museum, and The Forbidden City: The Palace for the Son of Heaven. Through their interactions with these digital contents, visitors will receive preliminary answers to common questions such as: What is the Palace Museum? What does the Museum’s collection contain? What might one see in the Museum?

The first exhibit features nine programs.

  1. Digital Interactive Hall

This interactive hall is consisted ofhigh -resolution LED screens on the ground and around the walls. With the designated mobile device to control the display, users may learn the construction of the Forbidden City, how it turning into a museum, and general information about the Museum’s current exhibitions.

The Exquisite Selection of the Museum consists of following six programs.

  1. Digital Calligraphy:Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion copied by Feng Chengsu.

 It presents high-definition images for amplified reading. Through the digital ink technology, users may try resembling and feel the rhythm and balance of Chinese calligraphy.

  1. Digital Paintings: Birds, Insects and Turtles

The high-definition images reveal the details of each brush stroke. Through the digital technology, the figures are brought to life and fully presents the vividness of the paintings from the Five Dynasties.

  1. Digital Hand-scrolls:Life along the Bian River at the Pure Brightness Festival

The integration of Digital Hand-scrolls and the “Great Paintings” section on the Museum’s official website provide users a better interactive experience of masterpieces in Chinese paintings. Users may enjoy the high-definition images, animations and audible interpretations of historical scenes in the paintings.

  1. Digital Treasury

This program presents approximately a hundred pieces of imperial treasures in 3D models. Users maytouch and zoom-in on the models. By scanning the QR code, users will receive the guide to visit the physical ones.

  1. Digital Court: Studio of Threefold Striving

The immersive 3D CAVE environment provides multiple users with a portal into the original imperial court. Through the VR technology, users may step into the room and enjoy the 3D court display.

  1. Digital Textiles

This program presents six pieces of exquisite textile and embroideries works with high definition images. Users may zoom in to see the details and learn about the auspicious symbols and different techniques used in the production of textiles and embroideries.

  1. Digital Wardrobe

This program boasts an unrivaled selection of exquisite imperial clothing of the Qing dynasty. Users may learn cultural connotations associated with the diverse garments. One exciting activity offers twelve articles of clothing that have been faithfully rendered into digital format for users to virtually tryon. This program shares the similar theme with the Museum’s App “The Qing Emperors’ Wardrobe”, together fully demonstrating the magnificent attire of China’s last imperial dynasty’s dress and accessories.

  1. Virtual Reality Cinema: The Forbidden City: The Palace for the Son of Heaven

The film takes 15 minutes. Through the VR technology, users are invited into the glorious Forbidden City dated in the reigns of Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong to witness its past splendor. Viewers may fly along the axis from south to north and have the panoramic view of the Forbidden City from an unprecedented perspective.

The Digital Gallery in the Gate of Correct Deportment (Duan men) is a combination of new technologies and traditional architecture. The gallery’s digital features are designed to represent the real architectural spaces and delicate arts in the Museum’s collections through innovative means. This gallery unfolds ancient Chinese culture using new medias, which explores a new way of preserving cultural relics while displaying them and stirring public interest of exhibitions.

For their cultural and historical information, the historic relics have an importance in preservation, research and education. However, they are too delicate to be put on public display. Digital galleries and digital collections are significant in exhibiting the relics while preserving them.

The features of this gallery’s first installation are described as below.:

Digital Interactive Hall bases on the fruits of fifteen-year of digital videography in the Forbidden City. It can be controlled by digital interface and provides a 3D guide to the Museum. Audiences can experience Chinese Calligraphy using digital writing brushes at the Digital calligraphy section. Digital Paintings and Digital Hand-scrolls use multimedia technologies to express Chinese visual aesthetics. Digital Hand-Scrolls can also be viewed online. Audiences can touch and interact with the Digital Collections in the Digital Treasury section. In Digital Court: Studio of Threefold Striving, audiences can experience Digital Architectural Spaces in a Virtual Reality Cave. This cave can be used to show other space in the Forbidden City as well. Digital Textile and Digital Wardrobes showcase some pieces that are fragile in their physical form and people can also try the virtual outfits on. Virtual Reality Cinema features six films that have been produced after fifteen years of digital videography in the Forbidden City. As audiences enjoy these films, they will gain an understanding of the planning, construction, and aesthetic design of the palace architecture. In summary, Duanmen Digital Gallery’s digital features are designed to represent the real architectural spaces and delicate art in the Museum’s collections through innovative means. The digital contents will be updated through a variety of exhibitions.