I should save this for my next list of "Things I'd Like to See", but it needs its own post.
I want museums around the world to offer subscriptions to famous pieces of artwork. Here's my vision:
The host museum, would set up a high-resolution webcam on various pieces of artwork. Then they'd broadcast the feed (for a fee) to other museums -- small ones in little towns like mine that just don't have the budget to compete with the Louvre, the Tate, or the Guggenheim.
Ideally, I'd like my local museum to subscribe to a whole wing or exhibit to create an electronic duplicate of the original gallery. They could change museums every month or so to keep things fresh.
I think this could really boost traffic to smaller museums. Expenses would be minimal since once you set up the cameras and projectors, all you'd have to do is tune in to a new feed. There's no shipping or insurance to mess with and no risk of theft. The host museum benefits by selling subscriptions.
I know some museums have virtual tours on their websites, but I think it'd be cooler to project artworks onto a wall (in the same order/arrangement as the host museum). You'd see them at or near actual size which you can't do online, and the resolution would be far superior to what most computer monitors can achieve.
I don't think host museums will lose any real-life visitors because of this. If anything, they are raising awareness and people are more likely to want to visit Paris/Rome/London/NYC to see the original.
Now that I think about it, museums could sell the subscription to "regular people" too. How much would you pay to project your favorite painting on your wall for a month?
This TOTALLY needs to happen, don'tcha think?