VIRTUAL MUSEUM: A WEBQUEST
Most experiences inside the physical buildings we call museums have been
virtualized to some degree too.
….Informational signage, detailed close-up images, audio guides, tour guides, even the easels of artists allowed to study and replicate artwork inside the museum — these are all low-tech re-presentations of the core collection. Even so, neither the online museum nor its physically embodied counterpart are completely virtual museums: they retain aspects of one another.
Presentation and preservation of artifacts in a physical museum setting necessarily removes them from their original setting. It follows that a useful way to provide a superior visitor experience is try to mitigate this decontextualization by re-situating a collection in the milieu of its creation, usage, or discovery…. Examples of this include regrouping virtually all the items found together in a buried cache or recreating collections virtually according to their presence in the collections of previous owners.
In the museum, the artifacts are arranged mainly to permit the most visitors
to experience them. Visitor throughput, issues of collection protection and
security, and some thematic groupings offer an organizational framework inside
the museum. In a virtualized museum, however, this is but one of many possible
frameworks. Technology has progressed to a point where visitors are empowered
to select from multiple context-generating frameworks. With such tools at
their disposal, visitors can synthesize their own meaning by viewing cultural
artifacts from multiple perspectives.
—John Tolva, IBM, USA, “Recontextualizing the Collection: Virtual Reconstruction, Replacement, and Repatriation.” Museums and the Web 2005: Selected Papers from an International Conference.