Virtual Museums are an innovative model of communication that aims at creating a personalised, immersive, interactive way to enhance our understanding of the world around us.

The Cultural Informatics Research Group at the University of Brighton is a partner in V-MusT (the Virtual Museums Trans National Network), a European Union FP7-funded Network of Excellence launched in March 2011. The network aims to provide the heritage sector with tools and support for the development of educational, enjoyable, sustainable and easy to maintain Virtual Museums.

Virtual Museums have great potential to enhance the public’s understanding of their heritage, but there are a number of issues that need to be addressed:

  • The concept of Virtual Museums is by no means new in Europe, yet they are not widely available.
    Virtual Museums share many similarities with the cinema and gaming industries, yet they have not reached the same level of maturity or ubiquity.
  • There is a disconnect between researchers developing new interpretative tools and industry practitioners creating long-term plans to engage audiences and markets. 
  • There is also a disconnect between the designers of virtual museum experiences and the potential audiences.
    Little thought has been given to how to make Virtual Museums sustainable over the longer term.

It is the aim of V-Must to tackle these issues and provide support on this new frontier of heritage.

Dr Jaime Kaminski will be working as part of this Network of Excellence with an international consortium of 19 universities, SMEs and heritage institutions and will lead the business-related activities.  This will include research into the socio-economic impact of Virtual Museums and the development of innovative business models for their sustainability.  

This work will build on the Cultural Informatics Research Group’s work in the EPOCH Network of Excellence in digital cultural heritage, and the FP7-funded 3D-COFORM Large Scale Integrating Project on formation of digital collections of 3D heritage objects. 

For more information see www.v-must.net