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Jan 10, 2020

Museum Association of Belize Learns How to Digitize Collections

The Museum Association of Belize received four-day training to learn how to use technology to preserve and make cultural assets more accessible. The owners and curators of the museums received the training through a hands-on approach from experts from Washington College. The programme is part of a wider project to strengthen small museums and their offerings. We stopped in at the final session today to find out more about the digitizing and virtual tour workshops.


Carla Rosado

Carla Rosado, Marketing Officer, Museum of Belize

“There is a community museum niche of twelve museums working directly with Washington College, whereby they are doing projects to go into the museums and assist the museums in digitizing their collections and cataloguing their collections. It is a project whereby the museum works hand in hand with Washington College where the students get to apply in practice what they have learnt in university. So, they go and assist the community museums who don’t have funding to establish their museum and so the students go in and do the work free of cost and the museum benefits, as well as the college and the university students.   The purpose primarily of digitizing your collections is because we need to preserve them in the state that they are in right now at this moment. Secondly, some of the collections we have on display are loan items and the day will come when the loan agreement expires and we won’t have them in our possession anymore but we will at least have an image of the collections. Also, in case of a natural disaster hitting Belize and we lose some of these pieces from the collection, we have on record that they existed and we have details of their provenance and where they came from and that sort of thing.”


Sara Clarke-Vivier

Dr. Sara Clarke-Vivier, Assistant Professor, Washington College

“A virtual tour starts with really good pictures of the space itself and so we use a 360 degree camera that takes pictures all the way up to the ceiling and all the way down to the floor and we do that as if we are a visitor walking through each of the rooms throughout. They take images of the objects and snippets of texts and audio and put all together using an application to synthesize the whole tour. It can first and foremost enhance accessibility, so for people who aren’t able to come to a museum because the live far away or have a physical disability or can’t travel for other reasons, having virtual offerings make it possible for them to see the history, culture and story that a museum has to offer. I think it is also important for small museums because sometimes when schools go on trips, they tend to take the students to big places and sometimes community museums are overlooked. So, when community museums can have that virtual presence, more people can be enticed to come and visit them or can learn about what their museum has to offer.”

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