The principal goal of this project is to develop an instrument to support the bidirectional interaction between museums and visitors. In particular, museum installations in 3D multi-user virtual environments can be regarded as facilitators to enable museum visits irrespective of time and geographical location of the visitor. Thus making exhibits accessible for a much larger group of people while still preserving a sense of space of the exhibition and co-presence of visitors.
By using a Web 2.0 style of user-generated annotations to virtual artefacts the museum receives immediate feedback from the audience about how particular artefacts are perceived and put in context with other artefacts. Such a user-generated taxonomy might well differ considerably from the curatorial view.
The principal goal subsumes three sub-goals:
- provide a platform for 3D museum installations in a multi-user virtual environment;
- provide a platform for user-generated textual and multimedial annotations to artefacts;
- analyse user interaction patterns with the virtual museum installation.
We expect such a 3D platform as being beneficial for both sides, museums and visitors. The visitors gain access to the exhibition anytime and anywhere. Moreover, the extra information in form of textual and multimedia annotations has the potential to provide a holistic museum experience that is otherwise hard to create. The museum, on the other hand, gets access to a description how its visitors perceive individual artefacts. In addition, the museum might realise which artefacts are grouped together in the imagination of the visitors; and this will most probably differ greatly from the way a museum custodian sees the collection.