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The new NETwork of THEmatic Museums and Institutes (NEOTHEMI)

Traditionally, museums display the cultural heritage of one or more countries thus illustrating some nationally relevant 'realities'. The NEOTHEMI network conceptualised the museum instead as both a physically fl exible place and a virtual space where visitors could fi nd and compare physically-distant objects, texts and artefacts from diff erent countries but belonging to comparable cultural horizons. The NEOTHEMI network aimed at the creation of a European platform for cultural heritage, a virtual educational museum. The contributions of the ten participating countries were grouped in broad areas, called the thematic 'pavilions'. They covered themes such as folklore and traditions, communication and interaction, art and cultures, or symbols of identity. National diff erences were respected while promoting a larger European perspective in order to overcome any cultural divide. Based on a common approach each partner institution organised one theme autonomously. The network activities were centred on the creation of the virtual museum and the organisation of thematic pavilions. In addition, the network organised meetings, training seminars and conferences. Several newsletters and three booklets were published covering topics related to cultural heritage and ICT. The main outcome was the development of a new concept of museum seen as both a physically fl exible place and a virtual space. On the NEOTHEMI website the visitor can fi nd information about the network’s philosophy and download the publications, and has the opportunity to exchange ideas with the network, and "e-walk" through the virtual museum.
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