Virtual museum

A Digital Museum is a digital information system, which is commonly found on the WWW, has summarized the digital reproductions of exhibits at the museum goals.

The exhibits of a digital museum must not alone come from a real existing museum, but it can be combined exhibits from various museums in a virtual museum. Digital Museums similar digital archives and digital libraries. In digital museums exhibits are collected, researched, stored and these are used to send.

Digital museums are part of the general cultural heritage.


A digital museum is often described as a computer or multimedia -assisted museum. However, here is the web presence of a museum, which also perceives its mission to provide information and education on the net and provides digital exhibits available digital museum. This also means that a digital museum as opposed to a digital archive more tempted to reach out to visitors and to involve them. Digital museums shift the focus from the object back to the information which is available to visitors and are thus in the tradition of the information age. Therefore, to be made ​​in the preparation of exhibits of digital museums in the context of the center and moved away from the objects. The mere digitization, such as by scanning or imaging, real museum objects and publication of images on a homepage is insufficient. The objects must be made available to the visitor through context and information. The informational added value consists precisely in the possibility of linking that is given much better in digital form as museums.


In museum exhibits a distinction between analog objects, the digital reproductions and metadata. The analog objects are the original museum exhibits, digital reproductions differ from the originals or reconstructions of actual fact that they are usually rendered as images. The metadata describes the analog and digital exhibits, to identify these and make discoverable in the museums.


Museum portals and museum associations are groupings of various museums at different levels. From a museum portal can be accessed directly on the exhibits of various digital museums. These are the museum associations in contrast. These associations serve the joint website on the Internet. The participating museums can be visited from a common web page.

Technical features of digital museums

Villingen describes the technical implementation of digital museums as follows: Unlike a digital museum archives should not be the true image of the real prototype, but rather make use of the strengths and weaknesses of the Internet and the digitization advantage.

The operation of a digital museum must be simple and clear to be understood by the visitor. The contextualization and networking is much more important than the technology alone.

Among the most important standards for digital archives include:



Lightweight Information Describing Objects ( LIDO ):

Object ID:

Dublin Core:

Icon Class:

Advantages and disadvantages of digital museums

  • Availability: Availability is always given, anyone can visit at any time a digital museum, one is not bound to opening times.
  • The spatial aspect: borders, countries and continents do not have to be overcome to visit a digital museum. From an aesthetic point of view, probably can be satisfying at the Louvre, only the original of the Mona Lisa; from a scientific point of view, the digitized sufficient to answer the questions of a researcher having to take on without a long journey.
  • Customization: In a traditional museum is often little time to respond individually to the visitors. With a digital museum can be a better response to individual visitors.
  • Relief of the museum staff: The fact that a museum his collection of partially or completely digitized and made ​​available on the Internet, a decrease of visitors rush on at certain points of the museum is to be expected.
  • Interaction: Visitors to the digital museum can get in touch with the museum pieces and find out more about them active. A disadvantage is that the digital museum exhibits the originals can not replace.
  • Simulation: Through digital working up a unique opportunity to lengthy and / or complex processes for which offers visitors quickly and clearly understandable to do.
  • Networking: In the digital world is networking, especially through links, an easy task to great effect. Single objects can be linked together without problems.
  • A part stands for the whole: For existing, traditional museums it is not necessary to digitize all of their collections and make them accessible on the web.
  • Obsolescence: A serious problem is the rapid change of technology, one can not predict which file formats are used in the future in order to preserve the digitized content in the future.

Legal Aspects

By Museum Museums laws are regulated by law. In these laws orders details on the operation and management of a museum be established in different paragraphs. Not every museum has to have its own museum mandatory law. As an example, the Vienna Museum Act is called, which applies to the Historical Museum of the City of Vienna and its branch offices.