Some of these constraints disappear in cyberspace.
MUVA provides interpretation, accounts of experience
and information, as well as access to material not
generally available. It supports and promotes Uruguayan
art and art history in a cost-effective way which
is economically viable for a small developing nation.
By means of this virtual museum, visitors from all
over the world can get to know the little-explored,
often inaccessible aspects of a peripheral and small
country, through images and texts. Virtual museums
like MUVA are especially useful in freeing museum
curators and art historians from the restrictions
of time and space so that they may build a community
of visitors in ways that are not possible in the "real
MUVA attracts visitors from all over the world. Some
of these visitors belong to the Uruguayan Diaspora,
formed during the late 1960s (due to the economic
crisis which began in 1955) and which increased during
the 1970s (the main reason being the coup d'état and
the military dictatorship between 1973 and 1984).
There are some 350,000 Uruguayans living abroad (mainly
in the U.S.A., Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Israel,
Canada, and Italy) and they are well educated and
maintain strong ties with Uruguay but lack sufficient
information on Uruguayan contemporary culture.
However, it is not an easy task for a virtual museum
in a peripheral country to be visible. The museum
has to cope with the hegemonic countries on the Web
and present itself also in the lingua franca of today:
English. Although the Internet represents decentralisation,
democratisation and empowerment, most of the sites
are dominated by the presence of the U.S.A. and peripheral
but interesting cultures, sites and countries do not
get enough attention from American sites or First
World countries. So the Internet is not exactly a
cyber-democracy: English-language sites predominate,
as does the presence of First World countries.
MUVA is therefore also encouraging the Internet to
become more multicultural, multilingual and varied,
since it disseminates, in both Spanish and English,
a culture and an art history that are not widely known.
This use of the Internet additionally helps to fight
prejudice and stereotypes, in this case by providing
a deeper understanding of the differences between
the different Latin American countries as regards
their art and culture. MUVA, by building a virtual
community of museum visitors from the standpoint of
a small and little-known country, makes the most of
the positive aspects of the Internet, which breaks
down geographical barriers, is increasingly cheap
and allows large numbers of people to share information
Virtual de Artes El País
Pza. Cagancha 1166/802, Montevideo 11100 Uruguay.
Tel. (598 2) 902 0115 ext. 289.
around the theme:
Communities: MUVA, the Virtual Museum Of Arts El País
model community museum in a village in the High Atlas
Australia's multicultural history
community regulates its own heritage
published in: "ICOM News", Volume 54 - 2001