VIRTUAL MUSEUMS AS DIGITAL STORYTELLERS FOR DISSEMINATION OF BUILT ENVIRONMENT: POSSIBLE NARRATIVES AND OUTLOOKS FOR APPEALING AND RICH ENCOUNTERS WITH THE PAST
Virtual Museums (VMs) have emerged from the ongoing crossbreeding process between museums and digital technologies as an additional "channel" for disseminating content and providing knowledge about cultural heritage. VMs is a concept still in definition, as this paper attempts to briefly retrace, the recognition of its potential has motivated our efforts for further developments.
Core questions that motivated the first phase of the research presented have been: can digital storytelling become the key feature of future VMs? May narratives approach support communication and understanding of cultural heritage providing enriching encounters with the past? May complex systems, such as the built environment and landscape (characterized by space-time relations among elements, that are often difficult to read or appreciate) find in digital storytelling a method that exploits their values as documents and palimpsests of human history? Can an increased awareness of the past contribute to support a sense of belonging and identity construction? Which kind of stories can be currently designed with the existing tools?
The paper, after an introductory overview, provides a tentative reply to these questions combining the main findings offered by a series of recent studies related to this scenario with some preliminary direct investigations and, eventually, it proposes some outlooks for future developments.