On July 27th, the metaverse platform “The Sandbox” announced a partnership with the “British Museum” to create digital collectibles for its collection of artifacts since its establishment in 1753. This marks the first step of the “British Museum” entering the virtual world.
According to the official statement from “The Sandbox”, through our partnership, we will provide users with a new immersive experience, allowing anyone from anywhere in the world to view the collection of the “British Museum”. The collaboration between The Sandbox and the authorized partner of the “British Museum”, NFT platform La Collection, focuses on developing digital collectibles and experiences showcasing the museum’s history.
In fact, the “British Museum”, one of the world’s top four museums, issued NFTs two years ago. In 2021, the “British Museum” announced a partnership with the French NFT platform La Collection to sell museum artifacts as NFTs.
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The NFTs sold include over 200 works by the ukiyo-e master Katsushika Hokusai, such as “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” and “Clear Day with a Southern Breeze”. Among them, the NFT of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” was sold for 45,000 USD (10.6 ETH).
In 2022, the two parties once again collaborated, and the “British Museum” launched a second wave of NFTs from its collection. The focus this time is on the British master painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), with the cheapest NFT artwork priced at only 799 RMB (5720 CNY).
This collection of NFTs is selected from 20 watercolor paintings by Turner, which were specially chosen from the 50 paintings donated by former Sotheby’s executive Robert Wylie Lloyd (1868-1958) to the museum, such as “Shipwreck in a Storm” and “The Colosseum in Rome”.
The Russian museum “State Hermitage Museum”, another one of the world’s top four museums, also joined the hot trend of NFTs in 2021.
The “State Hermitage Museum” auctioned off several of its most significant artworks on the Binance NFT marketplace, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Madonna Litta”, Vincent van Gogh’s “Judith and Lilac Bush”, Wassily Kandinsky’s “Composition VI”, and Claude Monet’s “A Corner of the Garden at Montgeron”.
Not only top museums, but also the world-renowned art museum “Uffizi Gallery” in Italy has sold its collection of paintings as NFTs. For example, Michelangelo’s “Doni Tondo” was sold as an NFT for 170,000 USD.
In addition, many other artworks have been tokenized as NFTs and sold on the blockchain. This trend indicates that NFTs have become an emerging art market, providing a new trading platform for artists and collectors.
Overseas museums also issue digital collections, just like domestic ones. The “Boston Museum of Fine Arts” and the “National Gallery of Art” in the United Kingdom have collaborated with “Fantasy Core” to launch digital collections of Van Gogh and Monet. Once launched, they were immediately sold out. However, now that “Fantasy Core” has exited the market, most users have applied for refunds for these exquisite collections.
It is undeniable that regional restrictions and travel costs are common problems faced by offline museums. NFT digital collections can not only help museums raise more funding subsidies but also help them reach more audiences. Otherwise, some ordinary people may never have the opportunity to personally visit offline museums and have close contact with these artworks.
Digital collections can bring many benefits to museums, including raising more funds, reaching more audiences, and solving copyright issues. Although the market for NFT digital collections is still relatively small at present, over time, they will become an important part of museums and the art world.
Users who obtain digital collections will undoubtedly have a strong interest in the collections and the museums. Visiting museums and taking photos with digital and physical collections have become interesting and worth-sharing experiences.