On-line Virtual Museums: An Application of an On-line VR Museum for the Parthenon Marbles
Internet: A Means of Cultural Repatriation
Among the most debated archaeological problems is the repatriation of cultural objects that have been removed from the country of origin and then dispersed in Museums around the world. The need for the return of cultural objects to their homelands is not only derived from the people they belong to, but also from those they appreciate their value and have archaeological interest in them. However, there are a number of problems revolved around most cases, which prohibit the cultural repatriation to be achieved. The case of the Parthenon Marbles is one of the best-known claims for the repatriation of cultural property, as its sculptures, which constitute an integral part of it, have been removed from the temple and are stored in different Museums.
Towards the problem of cultural repatriation, Parthenon Marbles case study is used to research to what extent the Internet can be introduced as a means of providing a form of cultural repatriation through the idea of a Virtual Museum. The argument is supported by the conception, design and construction of a Virtual Museum for the Parthenon Marbles. The web site is a pilot application implementing some sides of the temple, while providing guidelines and techniques for completion of the rest. The development of the web site also provided an opportunity for evaluating tools and techniques used in virtual museums. Finally, the VR Museum concept as a means of repatriation is evaluated, discussing the areas where such an application would be beneficial and also the level of information that can provide for the specified “repatriated” object(s) according to specific user groups and needs.