Preserving VR artworks

How to preserve a VR artwork: In 2021 LIMA executed research into VR preservation. The uncoverings from the research you can find below.

Not only artists, but also heritage institutions are increasingly using virtual reality (VR). How do you preserve VR productions for the future? This question is central to the VR conservation research project carried out by LIMA within the Digital Heritage Network.

VR productions are ideal for storytelling and exhibitions. Immerse yourself in a piece of history, as if you were walking in an 18th century city. That makes virtual reality possible. VR presents itself as an ideal computer technique to use by heritage institutions for storytelling as well as exhibitions. Artists are also increasingly creating their own VR work These productions, as well as other VR presentations, are slowly but surely gaining a place in the collections of museums and other organizations.

How to preserve?

A disadvantage of the technology and equipment used is that it changes very quickly. If we want to 'experience' this VR material in ten or twenty years' time, we have to make sure it is now stored in a sustainable way. Our goal with this project is to find out how that works and what challenges makers and organizations face. This research was carried out by LIMA for Atria Knowledge Institute for Emancipation and Women's History and the Digital Heritage Network. 


The VR artwork 100 Years of Women's Suffrage is central as a case in the project. Artist Justin Zijlstra made this work in 2019 on the occasion of the historic milestone of 100 years of women's suffrage in the Netherlands. For this he collaborated with Atria, the Amsterdam Public Library and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Questions addressed in the project are: How can we map out the experience and conserve the technology used? How do we exhibit and use the artwork in the future? And how do the different versions and the original relate to each other? 

Click here to watch 100 years of women's suffrage YouTube video