From Now On
The Educational Technology Journal



Vol 5 . . . No 5 . . . January/February, 1996

Examples of Adult Virtual Museums

To be considered a "virtual museum," a site should be much more than a promotional gimmick designed to sell items from the museum gift shop or to tempt physical visitors into the halls of the "real" museum. It should offer artifacts, text and information which supports serious investigation. It should honor the electronic visitor as a real visitor.

Unfortunately, many of the sites which advertise as virtual museums offer little more than marketing and schedules of exhibits in their buildings.

Some segments of the traditional museum community fail to appreciate the dynamic possibilities for virtual museum versions of their real-time, real-space museums to prepare nearby students for real-time visits and to engage others who might never, otherwise, visit in any way.

Many students who live far from the marble buildings would love to visit a virtual version of a museum as opposed to a textbook or encyclopedia "speaking" to the same subject. The medium has its limitations, yet there is much potential if we would entertain open-minded exploration.

The museums listed below are a small sample which offer a real learning opportunity independent of a "physical" visit.

As you visit, keep an eye on the balance between information and display. To what extent do these virtual museums devote more attention to theme, interpretation and meaning than the virtual galleries?

Mega-Lists of Virtual Museums

Examples of School Virtual Museums

Schools virtual museums are so new that it is difficult to find mature, fully developed examples. The sudden increase of school Web sites from dozens to thousands has happened within the last 24 month time period, according to statistics from Steven Collins at Web 66.

The museums listed below show clear evidence of the student as "worker" in the sense meant by the Coalition of Essential Schools. They also provide a major focus upon ideas and questions.

What's the Difference? --- Examples of Virtual Galleries --- Examples of Virtual Museums --- The Roles of Students in Each

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