Title:Object Immersion: Database-Driven VRML and Robocam Technology in the Virtual Museum
Authors:Angelina Russo
Publication:MW98: Museums and the Web 1998

This paper will discuss ideas of object representation within the museum, addressing the fragility of object collections, and will explore the potential of virtual reality technologies to define new ways of viewing museum space and display. The system of organising and classifying object collections is regarded as the core of museum activity as a cultural institution. But these very same collections are susceptible to heat, dust, light all of which result in collections spending most of their time in storage sheds away from main museum buildings and display spaces. The introduction of virtual environments within the museum may be the answer to displaying more of the collection more often. Virtual museum spaces which allow objects to be chosen from databases and viewed within contextual environments could see the creation of intriguing virtual museum spaces constructed individually for each new visitor. Virtual museums may provide the potential for all object collections to be viewed randomly anytime a visitor enters the virtual space. Display spaces in turn could be programmed to construct themselves at the moment of perception and events take place without curator anticipation of visitor interests. Dynamic database driven vrml which 'learn' the habits and likes of the user are being developed at the same time that virtual reality software is allowing construction of virtual spaces in real time. RoboCam technology which surveys physical space from a given point has the potential to overlap both physical and virtual environments. This paper will focus on the dichotomy between real and virtual museum space and object representation within that space.