Up close but safe: enjoy collections online at Royal Pavilion & Museums in Brighton

Art and culture lovers can get close up and personal from a safe distance with a new website launched by the Royal Pavilion & Museums in Brighton & Hove.

Oxen Moving a Mill by Percy Macquoid  Royal Pavilion & Museums
Oxen Moving a Mill by Percy Macquoid Royal Pavilion & Museums

Spokeswoman Caroline Sutton said: “While visitors are not allowed to visit the highly-regarded museums and the iconic Royal Pavilion at the moment, they can enjoy a host of zoomable images from our fascinating collections.

“Using the new Close Look Collections, viewers will be able to zoom in to a daily image taken from our Fine Art, Natural History and Local History collections.

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“Digital visitors will be encouraged to view the image and enjoy some of the small details in the work. Sometimes there will be a story about the item; other times an analysis of elements viewers might overlook or a more playful approach.

“Close Look Collections was developed in partnership with digital agency Mnemoscene. It uses cutting edge web technology to present the zoomable hi-res images of objects in our collections, and short narratives inviting people to investigate further.

“In addition RPM have also recently launched Pioneering Women of Sussex, a daily blog showcasing notable women in local history. The blogs were created to accompany our First Women Portraits exhibition in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery by photographer Anita Corbin.

“There is a huge amount of rich and varied content on the RPM website already ranging from virtual tours, podcasts and audio tours. Visitors can also see a huge range of blog content and images on our extensive online collections which show items not always on display in the museum.

“These include highlights from our natural history collection mainly held at Booth Museum, information about life at Preston Manor, craft and toy collections from Hove Museum & Art Gallery as well as fashion, Egypt, performance and decorative art as just part of the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery collection.

“To help visitors discover new gems in the collection, the museum digital team have decided to publish their monthly Insider newsletter every week during the Coronavirus crisis. In addition, they are publishing more posts via their social media channels every day to encourage engagement with the organisation.”

Among the highlights:

Voices of the Royal Pavilion & Museums podcast: Discover stories from behind the scenes at the museums with a series of interviews with RPM staff and volunteers.

Virtual Tour of the Royal Pavilion: Here’s your chance for a virtual tour of the Royal Pavilion to be enjoyed from your sofa.

Or if you are going on your daily walk, listen to the Audio Tour of the Royal Pavilion free of charge.

Local history fans will find a wealth of information about life in Brighton & Hove and Sussex through images, blogs and even archived Facebook Live films including an in-depth exploration of how people washed in Edwardian times.

Councillor Alan Robins, lead member for tourism, equalities, communities and culture at Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “We are so lucky to have such a huge range of interesting and entertaining ways to engage with our cultural history in Brighton & Hove despite the current lockdown.

“Art and history can be a wonderful way to put perspective on a situation and to add calm and beauty to help soothe troubled minds during these worrying times.

“The RPM collections cover a huge range of subjects from fashion to archaeology, WW1 to Brighton & Hove local history. This is a great opportunity for visitors to find out more about what the museums can offer from wherever they are in the world.”

All venues in the Royal Pavilion & Museums are currently closed because of coronavirus (Covid-19) and will reopen as soon as possible.

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