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Museums exist to disseminate information as well as to preserve knowledge, and these institutions have recognised the potential of the Web to support this role. The Web has opened up access to information and has allowed an increased number of ‘visitors’ to museums online. However, these online visitors do not have the same experience online than they would if they were to visit the actual museum (Proctor, 2010). Disseminating such information in a meaningful way has become one of the main challenges for the Online Museum (OM); for this reason, in the past few years museums have become increasingly concerned with the way the general public and particular sectors of it (e.g. children) acquire specific knowledge from their displays and collections (Hooper-Greenhill, 2004). It is nowadays accepted that learners should be active and not passive receptors of information, where the learner is involved in hands-on activities and participatory exhibitions. Learning is an activity where the mind and body are required to work together (Gray, 2010, Hooper-Greenhill and Moussouri, 2002).
As said, the Web started an on-going transformation on how museums interact with audiences and vice versa. The way in which this is happening has not been completely understood yet due to the novelty of the Web. In addition, due to this novelty, there are many new technologies that the OM could benefit from, but that nevertheless, haven’t been identified nor adopted by the museum sector. OMs have a big challenge to provide the best experience when visiting their collections. New technologies are being used and developed everyday and many of them can provide a pathway to promote engagement in the OM. No matter how the interaction occurs in the OM, it will always happen through a User Interface (UI). Therefore, it can be argued that Tangible User Interfaces (TUI) can provide a pathway for producing learning activities where users/visitors can be active, thus constructing knowledge. Nevertheless, it is necessary to study such tools in order to understand their impact in the several communities that embrace the OM, along with technological issues that may hinder its implementation by the museum community or enthusiasts.