Museums and the Web

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Actual/Virtual Visits: what are the links?

TitleActual/Virtual Visits: what are the links?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsThomas, W. A., & Carey S.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2005: Proceedings
Conference Start DateApril 13-16
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordsmuseum Web sites, on-line content, visitors' study

As museums expand their on-line profile, they continue to ask what a virtual space can mean to an audience, the ways an audience can experience it, and how the virtual space relates to the museum's physical space. How does on-line content relate to in-house content, and should one reflect or complement the other? What do museum visitors look for on a museum's Web site, for example, either before visiting a museum in person or following an in-person visit? This paper will discuss the implications of a study undertaken in 2004 by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) in collaboration with the Canadian museum community, and will provide museums with an understanding of the link between visits to the virtual space and to the physical space, enabling them to develop front-end and back-end content and means for audience engagement relevant to their visitors' needs.