VIRTUAL MUSEUMS AS A MEANS FOR PROMOTION AND ENHANCEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE
The use of virtual reality and ICT in the museum context provides a new key to understand and promote Cultural Heritage: thanks to these technologies the user has the opportunity to experience without the need to come into contact with the real objects. For the museum institutions VR and ICT are a valuable tool that allows them to perform different cultural tasks, addressing the public in a much more effective way than has previously been possible. Especially through VR, it is possible to reconstruct the original context of the artworks through the interconnection of contents: the virtual visitor, while viewing the artwork, can consult useful contents for the learning process. Another revolutionary element introduced by the new technologies is linked to the possibility of creating virtual exhibitions through which it is possible to exhibit works that are not accessible or not visible. These reflections and these theoretical principles were the basis for the development of the project proposal presented in these pages, that was born as a collaboration between the R3D Lab of the Museo della Rappresentazione of University of Catania and the CIMS Lab of Carleton University, Ottawa. It consists in the creation of a virtual museum, the Timeless Museum, in order to create an educational experience, able to make the users reflect on topics such as the value of history, the sense of beauty, the relationship with our past and our future, the protection and transmission to future generations of the artistic heritage we have.