Sandbox, British Museum shepherding history into ‘new online era’ with metaverse exhibits

The British Museum has some of the most important pieces of history in the world in its care, and in several months, The Sandbox players could view them from their own home

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Claudio Divizia/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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The British Museum is looking to bring some of its historical collections into The Sandbox metaverse. 

The British Museum has the distinction of being the first national public museum in the world, opening its doors in 1759. Now it wants to convert a portion of its precious artifacts into digital collectibles. 

The museum has roughly 80,000 objects on display — which it says accounts for just 1% of its total collection.

“Through our partnership, we will offer new immersive experiences, allowing anyone anywhere in the world to discover some of the objects in the collections of the British Museum,” The Sandbox wrote in a Medium post

It is important to note that the British Museum has a well-known reputation for displaying artifacts that were allegedly stolen from nations colonized by the British empire. The museum even has a partial list of such exhibits on its own website, where it refers to its custodianship as “contested.”

Among these are the Benin Bronzes from Nigeria, the Parthenon Marbles from Greece, and the Rosetta Stone from Egypt. These artifacts remain at the museum despite calls from activists and world governments to return the items to their homelands.

Blockworks contacted the British Museum to determine whether The Sandbox collection was set to commercialize any of these contested items.

A spokesperson for the museum did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

In a previous inquiry, a spokesperson did mention that it will require a number of months for “experience development” within The Sandbox’s metaverse.

“Over time, various experiences and digital collectibles will be created by The Sandbox, inspired by the collections of the British Museum,” the spokesperson told Blockworks. “It is envisaged that new content will be fed into The Sandbox on a regular basis so it offers a fresh experience for users.”

Additionally, the British Museum will offer suggestions for intellectual property use within the metaverse and will “review and approve what is created by The Sandbox.” 

No price points for the forthcoming digital collectibles have been set, but the museum said that “there will be some paid and unpaid elements developed for gamers to enjoy.”

The museum said that its aim is to “take advantage of this new online era, from a creative and commercial point of view.”


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