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Virtual Museums (VMs) and their audiences have always been studied as separated worlds. Recently the importance of cross-methodological studies has been accepted by the academic sector for their usefulness in the process of assessing the impact of such VMs. Hedonic aspects, such as emotions, senses, perception, and environmental atmosphere rather than technicalities, like usability and affordance, have indeed played a precise and crucial role in the meaning-making of the world around us. This contribution will highlight the need for a collaborative sharing of ideas among designers and developers, creators and technicians, in order to reach sensory immersion and emotional involvement in VMs that will translate into enhanced participation and the predisposition to assimilate and memorize cultural contents. It has been stated that “a virtual museum is a digital entity.” As such, it is inevitably based on technology, on its user interface (UI), on the visualization solutions it employs, and on its usability and ability to interact with the end user in order to transfer a certain message. VMs are designed to complement, enhance, or augment the ordinary museum experience through contextualization, narration, personalization, interactivity and richness of content. This contribution originates not only from the lessons learned in twenty years of research by CNR ITABC, but it also moves one step further in the direction of exchanged experiences and good practices between the humanistic and the technological sectors, therefore contributing to the promotion of lifelong learning in Virtual Museums.
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