The Artefacts Rescuers Association of Nigeria (ARAN) says the proposed digital museum to be inaugurated later in the year may discourage people to physically visit museums across the country.
Mr George Agbo, the President of the association, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the association was not in the know about the proposed digital museum to be inaugurated by National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and Diasfunds Africa Nig. Ltd. (DAL).
“We were not consulted, otherwise we would have advised against it; we should be careful because if our museums are digitalised, we are going to discourage tourists from visiting them.
“That would make our museums redundant; people would not want to take their children there to see our past, they would just open their phones and computers to view them.
“If you see a picture of an ocean, would there be any need for you to go into the ocean,’’ he queried.
Agbo explained that the feeling of physically being in the museum environment was very important.
According to him, museums are meant for people to visit, pay a token to go round, feel the environment and look at the artefacts and other things, rather than viewing pictures from phones and computers.
He said that museums could be likened to sacred places where people go to cherish their pasts and the history of their existence.
He emphasised that this was one of the reasons why people were not allowed to take pictures in museums.
“But if it goes online like I was made to understand, what then happens to the physical museums and also the money that
would come in; is it to the company or NCMM.
“I want to suggest that we should not put pictures of all our objects from the museum into the website because it is a treasure house.
“And you cannot expose your treasure house to the world, but rather invite the world to come and see them.That is why taking pictures in museums in China and many European countries are not allowed,’’ Agbo reiterated.
NCMM recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Diasfunds Africa Nig. Ltd, a tourism promotion company, to establish digital museum in the country.
More than 1,000 pictures from NCMM will be uploaded and users will pay per click to view the different pictures of artefacts and monuments from their phones and computers.
During the signing of the MoU, both parties said that proceeds from the project would be shared between NCMM and DAL.
Mr Obinali Egele, the Chief Executive Officer of DAL, told NAN that when people view the artefacts and monuments from the digital museum, they would be encouraged to visit such sites.
“The digital museum has the ability to make Nigeria earn over 3 million dollars annually aside from the revenue to be generated from the physical visits by tourists across the globe,’’ Egele said
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