Virtual museum is generally a collection of digital media (photos, audio or text) that is accessible through computer. They can be online and accessible through World Wide Web, and offline and be on a computer from which are they used or recorded on some medium - CD, DVD. Virtual museums can be digital representations of real world art or they can be art on their own, creations created digitally without real world counterpart. Similarly to actual museums, virtual museums can be made to have defined theme. They are made in virtual medium because of its easy access, high interactivity and speed.
Most museums now have their web pages on the internet but they differ in how close they come to a virtual museum. Some of them only give information about themselves while other make full virtual museums and exist only online with all the material uploaded and accessible on the internet. Some of the earliest virtual museums were Museum of Computer Art, Web Museum, ParisLin Hsin Hsin Art Museum, The Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, Ljubljana: Open-Air Museum, Virtual Museum of Computing, Virtual Museum of New France, The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, WebExhibits, the Science Museum in London and ibiblio. Some of the modern virtual museums are: America's Black Holocaust Museum, International Museum of Women, International New Media Gallery, Google Art Project, Movement Museum and The Hairpin Museum.
Virtual museums can have standard 2D environment similar to web pages where users navigate through the material of the museum like they would navigate through standard web pages. They can also have 3D environment where users are moving through designed 3D space that is modeled to give visitor sense of spatiality, in which are placed objects and artifacts that visitor came to see. Most of virtual museums have .org domains as their suffix but some can have .gov or .edu.