How to Start a Virtual Museum

The information age has brought a lot of amazing things, including the ability to share knowledge instantly across the world. One way of doing this that is being increasingly explored is by creating an online museum. Museums are places to gaze upon artifacts and technology and learn about their history and purpose. Unfortunately, museum audiences are limited to those who can travel to the museum.

By putting your museum online though, you can expand this audience to the world. You will need some knowledge of HTML coding, a high-quality digital camera and the patience to see your dream to fruition.



  1. 1Create a flowchart of your online museum. Just like in a real museum, try to imagine the home page as the lobby. Welcome visitors to the online museum and include plenty of links to the different “galleries” you have on display. If you can, try to include pictures with your links. This will help present a more visual and user-friendly environment.
  1. 2Construct your galleries. As you build your web page, try to divide galleries into different “rooms” like you would find in a museum. Group associated concepts together. For example, if your museum is about American history, start one page for the early-colonization period, another for the revolutionary war and another for the drafting of the constitution. It may be helpful to include links to the next gallery in sequence at the bottom of the page. This will help the visitor feel more like they are in an actual museum, passing from one room to the next.
  1. 3Add pictures to your galleries. As you program your web page, include pictures you have taken of the things in your real museum, with captions alongside them. Make sure to be descriptive with the items. For example, if you have a picture of the Hope Diamond, don’t just say “The Hope Diamond”; instead, give a short description on it, namely “The Hope Diamond, a rare deep-blue diamond, has an extensive history which is believed to trace back to India.” If you have more information, be sure to include a link to that next to your initial explanation.
  1. 4Link in additional information and copies of documents. This will give researchers and those who are just curious the opportunity to read deeper into the information presented and to see the source. Be sure to include these links next to the photos and short descriptions they pertain to. This will help satiate the visitors’ curiosity and give them the means to learn even more than they might be able to in a traditional museum.
  1. 5Keep expanding. Although your web page might start with one or two galleries, keep working on it and adding in more. Even if you do it little by little, your museum will begin to fill out and before long you will find that it is full of useful and interesting information. Remember that because your museum is online, you do not need to worry about constraints like floor space. You have the ability to do something that no other museum in the world can.
  1. 6Consider opening a gift shop. If the page you are building is for a real museum and you have the means to do so, you may want to include a small online store where visitors can buy items available in your real museum’s gift shop. This will allow the museum to collect income off the website and will allow visitors to purchase books and other information that may help them in continued research. Just be sure that your site is secure enough to process credit card information, and that you actually have the ability to ship these items to the website visitor.

Community Q&A

Question: Can I make a website using

Answer: Maybe, or try wix premium to make a very pro-looking website, but it will cost you a little. You can also use many other websites, but there are too many to name.


  • Be patient. Building a website is hard work, and the scope of building an online museum can be pretty intense. Keep working on it day-by-day and after awhile you should be surprised at what you’ve been able to accomplish.
  • Make the website as visually appealing as possible. Dull websites that are just large blocks of text tend to drive viewers away. If you include pictures with your text, it will make the site more alluring and help keep visitors there and learning.


  • Make sure you have the means to open an online gift shop before actually doing so. If you don’t have the ability to collect funds properly or ship items, you may find yourself in legal trouble when orders start coming in. Opening a gift shop should be the absolute last thing you try to do with your online museum.
  • Make sure you own the copyrights to images and information, or have the permission to use it in your online museum. Although many visitors will appreciate a free online tour of a museum in your area, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the museum will feel the same way.