The British Museum Enters the Sandbox Metaverse

Credit: The British Museum

The British Museum is partnering with popular decentralized metaverse ‘The Sandbox’ to offer NFT collectibles in conjunction with the French startup LaCollection.

The museum will also create its own immersive virtual space in the metaverse, alongside other cultural icons like adidas, Gucci, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton, Snoop Dogg and more.

The press release said the non-fungible tokens and experiences will “reflect the breadth and depth of The British Museum’s collections.” A spokesperson added that the museum is always looking for “innovative ways of sharing its collection and reaching new audiences.”

Surprisingly, this isn’t The British Museum’s first foray into Web3. In 2021, it began its partnership with LaCollection with the release of an NFT collection of 200 digital postcards depicting the works of Katsushika Hokusai, including one of his most famous pieces, “Under the Wave, Off Kanagawa,” created in 1831.

To follow up, in 2022, the museum and LaCollection auctioned 20 tokenized version of works by Joseph Mallord William Turner, a British artist, including his most famous watercolor painting “A Storm (Shipwreck)” from 1823. Since the works came from a collection that stipulated it could only be shown for two weeks out of the year, the digital renditions allowed a wider audience to view them.

The museum’s most recent NFT launch featured 20 pen and chalk drawings from Giambattista Piranesi, a Venetian-born draftsman.

The British Museum was founded in 1753 and is widely recognized as one of the most important cultural institutions in the world. Its entrance into The Sandbox will not just give it the chance to push its collections to a new audience, but also to showcase its incredible collection of artworks in an immersive virtual world, democratizing the museum-going experience in the process.

Museums Innovate in Web3

When the pandemic shut things down in 2020 and 2021, museums, like many businesses, had a big problem. Most of their revenue was generated from ticket sales, and now the doors were closed, and that revenue was gone. As a result, museums began looking for alternative and innovative ways to stay afloat: introducing Web3 technology.

Here are some of the top stories about museums using NFTs and Web3 technology to capture new audiences and generate revenue over the past year.

First, about eleven months ago, the Museum of the City of New York filed several trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office related to NFTs and the metaverse. It revealed the museum has plans to offer crypto collectibles, NFTs, and metaverse experiences.

Next, a few months earlier, the Vatican released plans it was working with metaverse platform Sensorium to bring its invaluable collection of artworks into Web3. Soon people won’t need to travel to Rome to view the Vatican’s collection, but can tune in via a virtual reality headset.

Lastly, Dubai’s Museum of the Future partnered with Binance NFT to launch a series of NFT collections. The museum, which aims to be a pioneer in the crypto-technology space, is working on a range of virtual assets and products.

Museums are more known for preserving the past more than for innovating the future, but with Web3 technologies like NFTs and the metaverse, that could all be changing. At Rarity Sniper, we curious to see if The British Museum’s metaverse space will be popular with users. But considering how well-known the institution is around the world (and the popularity of The Sandbox), we think there’s a good chance it will be.