Digital reviews | Persepolis reimagined, 1920s refugees and live music in museums - Museums Association

Digital reviews | Persepolis reimagined, 1920s refugees and live music in museums

We take a scroll through the latest digital content
Digital Heritage Sound
Indie RnB singer iamkyami live from National Museums Liverpool
Live music on YouTube | National Museums Liverpool

There’s a lot of good digital stuff being produced by National Museums Liverpool right now, but I particularly loved the simplicity of the Museum Sessions.

The sessions are a series of musical performances by up-and-coming Liverpudlian musicians, such as hip-hop artist MC Nelson. Beautifully filmed in the museums’ most visually arresting galleries and uploaded to YouTube, these collaborations seem like a perfect fit for a group of museums that represent and reflect a city that has music pulsing through its veins.

The sessions offer a way of showcasing the museum and the artists, while offering new ways of interacting with new digital audiences. More music in museum galleries I reckon, and maybe with some real-life audiences too.

Persepolis reimagined | Getty Villa Museum
Take a stroll through Persepolis in real time, courtesy of Getty Villa Museum

We get so used to dashing around on the web, don’t we? Jumping here, there and everywhere in a matter of minutes. Encouraged to keep scrolling, but not to dwell, moving onto new information every few seconds or minutes. It can all feel a bit tiring.

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So, what a joy to find something slow on the web. Slow Web – it could be a new movement perhaps, like Slow Food or Slow Travel. It could benefit us all.

For a few moments the Getty Villa Museum’s digital reimagining of the ancient Persian city of Persepolis jars with our 2021 ways. The site has to load for starters. A little counter ticks its way from one to 100 and it all feels like the year 1999.

 It’s not the technology that makes it slow, however. The developers have chosen this pace so that we meander digitally around an imagining of what Persepolis might have looked like as if we were there. We wouldn’t dash, we would wander slowly, looking at all the details, taking it all in. And here you can do exactly that. There are times when you can focus on something in particular and find out more, at other moments you can see what a particular part of the city looks like today – it’s breathtaking.

There are also opportunities to explore artefacts that were discovered in the city. It’s a real joy and the kind of stuff  that the world wide web was made for. We all need more laid-back, slow-paced digital exploration of ancient Persian cities in our lives.

We are 20s People | The National Archives

I’ve been reading a lot lately about our distracted 21st century minds, constantly primed and waiting for the next beep or buzz alerting us to something that needs our immediate attention.

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It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all these electronic beckonings. Between wars, pandemics and political upheaval, I sometimes feel like signing out of all my devices.

But it tends to be the places we hang out on the internet (I’m looking at you social media) that cause us the most amount of distress and distraction.  Sometimes, just sometimes though, it’s possible to stumble on a brilliant internet wormhole. Yes, it will still suck away your time, but at least it doesn’t leave you feeling depleted and depressed.

To that end, I whole-heartedly recommend an internet stop-off at the National Archives website. I started at its wonderful blog, and then before long had discovered the We Are 20s People, a whole new section of content that connects us with the people who came 100 years before us. These people, who can now be looked up on the newly released 1921 census data, were also navigating difficult times (albeit minus the constant beeps and buzzes), and their stories are fascinating, inspiring and even comforting.

The content is a mix of written features and audio interviews as well as videos and photographs. There is content you can dip your toe into and content you can dive deeply into too.

This is much more than just a digital copy of an exhibition – The 1920s: Beyond the Roar, which closed in June. It feels like a separate entity, and one that I hope will be kept on the website. I’ve only just got started on this treasure trove.

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