The Virtual Museum of Images and Sounds (VMIS) is a virtual museum created by using the resources of two image and sound archives of the AIIS – the Center for Art and Archaeology (CAA) and the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ARCE). Museums in the country and abroad may join.
Virtual museums are often a reflection of brick and mortar museums, recreating the space in virtual reality. They provide a user interface to interactively access collections, and thus offer endless possibilities for curating, combining and therefore creating new ways of using collections.
VMIS is however a virtual space that creates a museum space in virtual reality by providing for digital exhibitions, and an opportunity for digital content to be presented in a curated and interactive manner. The two archives are using their digital content – images, audio and video recordings, present the holdings in a variety of ways, giving the users a chance to navigate through the collections.
The strength of VMIS lies in the fact that it has the flexibility to expand or shrink its boundaries to any extent and create larger historical and cultural contexts, or smaller and detailed contexts, in ways that are not possible for a museum located within a physical boundary. Unlike virtual museums, which are mere online representations of collections, VMIS surpasses the physical boundaries of a traditional museum, allowing visitors to have an all-inclusive experience of virtually exploring the sites and places and studying the museum “objects” in their original context. The images of the Center of Art and Archeology are not only of art objects but combine photographs and detailed drawings of monuments, providing access through site and time, all of which will be available on the VMIS website. Likewise the recorded collections of the Archives and Research Centre of Ethnomusicology, provide access to musical and performance recorded samples with accompanying text and explanation, combined with related images through a geocultural interface, a timeline and a thematic outline. In the case of the ARCE, the website will contain only sample recordings, and a fuller and more integrated version will be available through a kiosk.
Financially supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the 'Phase I of the development of Virtual Museum of Images and Sounds' was inaugurated on May 23, 2012 by Mr. Jawhar Sircar, Former Secretary Culture, GOI and currently Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharti.