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The hype surrounding the impending mainstreaming of Virtual Reality can seem to prioritize the digital above the critical. With the development of VR said to be at a pivotal point, there is an important opportunity to consider the emergence of virtual heritage and its potential futures. This paper argues that there is a disjunction between the present reality of virtual heritage and virtual reality, and discusses the twin challenges of presence and realism within virtual reality. In particular, it highlights a paradox inherent in virtual heritage and virtual reality and proposes the use of ‘loose-realism’ as a solution. Ultimately, the challenge is to address the claims that virtual reality represents a new class of information system, or metaverse, in order that virtual heritage fully engages with enquiry about the past.
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