Since the pandemic began, museum attendance has dropped significantly, leading to a sizable decrease in revenue. Though attendance is on the rise, many consumers now prefer digital experiences. To survive in this new climate, museums are embracing NFTs, gamification and the metaverse.
As of now, consumers are spending $5.8 million per week on NFTs in the art industry. This burgeoning market could offer new revenue streams for museums. Several museums have launched NFTs recently, including The British Museum, where some of the rarer items were priced at over $5 thousand. In addition, Agora Awards raised £1.86m to help elevate NFTs as works of art.
In China, digital collectibles are being utilized by museums as an NFT alternative. These digital collectibles cannot be purchased with cryptocurrency or resold. ARTiSTORY, a company that specializes in cultural IP licensing programs, recently partnered with Dunhuang to develop 8 thousand digital collectibles. The digital collectibles created for the collection featured Dunhuang‘s mural artwork.
Some museums are working to gamify their exhibits. “We are now starting to see fully gamified museum experiences that bring together multiple technologies,” says Yizan He of ARTiSTORY in an article on Fortune.com. “My company is currently working with museums to create immersive role-playing game experiences where visitors select characters on an app before arriving and are challenged to collect digital “memories” along their route through the exhibition, which are later rendered into digital collectibles.”
Yizan believes museums will begin offering museum tours via live stream featuring avatars of famous artists as guides. In addition, it seems likely that museums will offer virtual art galleries in the future. Recently, KAWS partnered with The Serpentine Gallery and Fortnite to bring KAW’s New Fiction exhibit into the metaverse. The virtual art exhibit included sculptures, augmented reality art and paintings and paralleled the physical exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery.