Digital museum showcases cultural assets from Southeast Asia

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Paris Clock, an old clock from Thailand that is being exhibited at the digital museum launched by the ASEAN Secretariat and NTT Data Corp.

BANGKOK — NTT Data Corp. and the Secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have launched a digital museum to showcase valuable cultural assets from countries in the region.

The virtual museum is likely to gain notice as a way to make people feel as if they are visiting a museum in Southeast Asia, as it has been difficult to travel abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A belt buckle from Malaysia is on show

In an effort to preserve valuable cultural assets that are at risk of being lost due to aging, fires and other reasons, the Japanese government has provided support for the initiative, which utilizes NTT Data’s digital recording system.

The first exhibition in the online museum began on Nov. 26 with virtual displays of cultural assets accompanied by English commentary from experts. It features a total of 22 items, including a belt buckle inlaid with colorful jewels from Malaysia and a gold-decorated cabinet used in a Thai temple.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Manuscript cabinet on pig-legged stand from Thailand

These cultural assets have been scanned in 3D, allowing people to see even the rear by simply moving the cursor on their computer. Viewers can zoom in on a part of the object they want to see and appreciate the delicate colors and textures.

The ASEAN Secretariat and NTT Data have so far recorded the digital data of more than 270 cultural assets from five Southeast Asian countries. The digital museum plans to hold special exhibitions several times a year. It can be visited free of charge.