The Virtual Museum Idea
Thanet's Archaeological Resource
The Isle of Thanet has a unique archaeological resource, reflecting its proximity to the European mainland and abundant natural harbours which acted over thousands of years as a gateway to the great cultural movements of the European continent.
The history of Thanet and its wider region is encapsulated in the artefacts and the structures created by its people and in the studies of those artefacts which give them meaning. Thanet's archaeology has been excavated, recorded and analysed by antiquarians and archaeologists for nearly three hundred years and for 25 years the Trust for Thanet Archaeology has been leading the exploration of Thanet's archaeology.
Museum of Archaeology
A museum of archaeology should collect, preserve, interpret and display a representative selection of the archaeological artefacts that characterise the material culture of an area so that aspects of its history can be reconstructed. Access to the museum collection should be given to anyone who wishes to view or study it.
Without the resources to build a conventional museum in the form of an institution in a single location, a Virtual Museum fulfilling the requirements of an archaeological museum can be built, utilising whatever resources are available, permanently or temporarily. Some elements of the museum's functions, may not be combined in a single location or have a physical presence, operating only in cyberspace. A developing Virtual Museum of Thanet's Archaeology is a step toward securing a permanent museum.
Building a Virtual Museum of Thanet's Archaeology
The Virtual Museum will collect digital artefacts that tell the Isle of Thanet's archaeological story and give a direct experience of the cultures that occupied the same landscape in the past forming a resource of digital documents, images and references. Important artefacts that cannot be physically brought in to the collection will be represented by digital resources. The interpretative display of artefacts from the collection using digital media will be a primary function of the Virtual Museum which will be accessed through the web.
The digital resources of the Virtual Museum will be a gateway to physical interaction with objects. Using whatever resources are available in the community for the safe display of the collection and controlled interaction, the Virtual Museum will provide access to physical artefacts from the collection, through workshops and hands on experiences focused on the core principals of archaeological artefact study and interpretative concepts.
The Virtual Museum will be maintained by the Trust for Thanet Archaeology with the assistance of its extended archaeological community that the Virtual Museum serves. The archaeological artefacts and information held by the Trust will be used as a basis for the museum collection.