Museums are buildings that are used in storing and exhibition of historical artifacts. A virtual museum is a programmable cyber museum build by graphic designers. According to Kindersley (1998), it is not tangible and can only be seen through an electronic device such as a computer. This museums are created using computer graphic software (GKs, Open GL, PHIGS) running on a programming language platform such as C++. The museums are created using existing physical museums, using virtual reality one is able to access the rooms online. Examples of such include Web Museum-Paris, the museum of historic science in Oxford, Louvre museum in France and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
During my study I practically visited The Louvre Museum and was impressed. I toured the museum with aid of flash and quick time virtual reality technology. It is divided into six main sections: collections, Auditorium, visits, activities and museum. I chose the museum because of its popularity, easy accessibility, quality web pictures, and interactive 360 degree perspective of the rooms and vast fields artifacts it covers. Apart from being known its database is consistent and easily consultable, it covers various languages (French, English and Japanese) and convenience in service delivery.
It produces online version of its artifacts with user aids and standalone online resources. These offer teaching sessions to the user. Virtual museums provide the student with visual impression of what one is expected to see before the actual day. Hence this reduces transportation costs, promotes research activities through the web, and promotes tourism within the featured museum and creation of employment opportunities (graphic designers, programmers, software engineers).
The Museum houses the most artifacts from medieval times to the 19th and 20th century. These are the oldest and latest surviving artifacts and are accessible through four online databases: Joconde, inventory of the department of prints and drawings, Atlas and La Fayette database of American art. These artifacts relay the cycle of development from its birth (Mclachlan, 2006).
This is an online site which covers vast areas within the museum allowing 35,000 online works of art. These are works that are exhibited within the Louvre. The online art allows the visitors to create an online album preparing him/ her before the actual visit. It also offers basic knowledge of the areas one is to find particular artillery. With user aids the user can carry out virtual advanced research by keywords, inventory number, department or room and title. The museum allows one to choose a thematic trail which is a guide through the virtual tour. However, some exhibitions were not found and some were too much liked to the museum ( Innovanet, 2008).
After the virtual tour, I realized the significance of virtual museums in education, employment, research and storage of the national heritage. Thus it arouses my interest and curiosity to see the real artifacts featured in the Louvre, inspiring me to sharpen my artistic skills in my field. More so I was fascinated with the oil portrait of Mona Lisa made by Leonardo da Vinci between 1503 and 1506. In this way I have created an enigma of the myth surrounding the portrait and taken the painter as the leeway to express ones ability artistically. In this event virtual museums should be widely promoted. Thus due to improved technology, virtual museums are only a click of a button away (with availability of the internet and proper knowledge). This motivates the armatures in this field, Arts and Culture to appreciate and hike their skills in a more passionate way. These are obtained through good graphical output of the portraits with the embracement of HD and other better graphic output devices.