University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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The Virtual Museum
Laia Pujol, Anna Lorente

Last modified: 2011-12-18


This paper aims to reflect about how Cultural Heritage museums have been affected by the introduction of the concept of Virtual Museum, and are in turn affecting its development. To that end, it will firstly examine its philosophical roots and summarize how the museum’s concept and its relationship with audiences have been modified by it. Then, it will review previous characterizations and current uses in order to suggest a new, more comprehensive definition of it. Finally, it will consider different theoretical frameworks that have been recently proposed for its definitive integration. The idea behind this paper is that the definition and implementation of the Virtual Museum revolves around its conceptual distance to the physical visit, which is ultimately determined by the museological tradition of each country. As a consequence, the real potential of Information and Communication Technologies for museum communication and learning online has not been completely unfolded. The solution may be found between a shift in mentalities and the limits of technological flexibility. 



virtual museum; history; classification; theory;