Palace Museum, Beijing
The Palace Museum located in the Forbidden City in Beijing not only possesses numerous art objects but also administers the entire Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was constructed in the early 15th century and was the political, economic, cultural and military centre of China for 500 years spanning the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was designated a World Heritage site in 1987.
Up until a few years ago, The Palace Museum faced the same challenge experienced by many museums and heritage sites– how to keep cultural assets on display for the public while preventing deterioration. The curators decided to explore the possibilities of digital archiving technology as a measure to realise both preservation and presentation of cultural assets.
Subsequently, a partnership was formed with the Palace Museum and Toppan Printing Co., resulting in the inauguration of The Palace Museum Digital Institute in October 2003. The aim of the Institute was to preserve, accumulate, and exhibit the Palace Museum's cultural assets utilizing state-of-the-art digital archiving technology on site in Beijing, China.
At the official inauguration ceremony of the Institute, the fruit already born by the project was unveiled to the public, in the form of the Virtual Reality contents, "Forbidden City: The Emperor's Palace".
This was the first milestone of the Institute, and since then work has been carried out on creating a digital archive of all of the artefacts in the museum as well as more VR contents programmes, the next of which is due for completion in 2010.