Exploring and Interacting with Virtual Museums


Traditional exhibitions in museums provide limited possibilities of interaction between the visitor and their artefacts. Usually, interaction is confined to reading labels with little information on the exhibits, shop booklets, and audio guided tours. These forms of interaction provide minimal information, and do not respond to a visitor’s personalized information preferences. As a result, there is no direct involvement between the visitor and the exhibit. This paper expands on a presentation metaphor, the virtual museum, which through the use of technologies such as Web/X3D, VR and AR offers to the visitor the possibility of exploring a virtual museum, interacting with virtual exhibits in real-time and visualising these exhibits in contexts such as 3D gallery spaces. We offer a pot pouri' of novel and cost effective interaction and visualisation techniques that can be integrated into web based virtual museums. In our virtual museums, the exhibit is a digital representation of the cultural artefact, represented in various multimedia formats such as text, images, videos and 3D models/scenes that can be placed inside virtual gallery spaces. Such spaces can be explored, interacted with, and visualised on museum web pages using standard VRML browsers. The interactions provided within our system allow a museum web visitor to: participate in education quizzes about the exhibits; examine them from different perspectives in VR environments; pick-up’ and freely observe the exhibits in indoor AR environments; and finally interact with an artefacts replica through a safe multimodal interface.

Proceedings of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology