Museums theoretically are classified as follows:
-Museums as schools: Museums as a source of education and continuous learning in a direct or an indirect way.
(Field of study, kids education, research, work, exploring, area of interest, curiosity) And this experience could be replaceable somehow, or could be supported online through the museum website that supports all the information of the artifacts supported with new learning techniques.
That’s the trend most of the museums follow now which is called (Edutainment), Education through entertainment, interactivity and engagement.
-Museums as temples: Culture, Entertainment & Amusement.
Museums as a source of recognizing a culture, displaying rare artifacts, have it’s own holiness, a place of entertainment and amusement. This experience is hard to be replaced because it depends on many factors, for example, the holiness of the original rare artifacts, the physical place and the interactivity with the objects, the architecture, the interior and the phenomena of the place that may support in a way or another the artifacts theme. The senses of the physical place including touch, smell, feel, hear and sometimes taste, last but not least the consciousness of scale and textures. All these factors and more are very hard with existing technologies to adopt it in an online visit.
Although a lot of designers are trying to mimic this experience with simulated virtual tours, but it still requires higher qualities tools and more technologies to even get closer.