The exploration of cultural heritage through well- designed virtual worlds has met an increase in popularity within the last decade. More and more well-known museums around the globe have started to spend funds in order to build systems with which users can virtually navigate through the museums’ exhibits. Technological breakthroughs in graphics design and the use of multimedia content have helped these systems become more attractive and easier to use. However, the vast majority of these systems are solely there to represent content in an appealing way, with users just having the submissive role of requesting information. A user-aware virtual museum environment named Virtual Wing is proposed where users, apart from ‘consuming’ content, can express their opinions on it. By providing such an option, we give users an active role which helps them retain their interest, deal with potential boredom and develop the feeling that their actions have an impact. In particular the Virtual Wing creates and presents a complete virtual representation of a museum, providing rich multimedia descriptions for its content. Moreover, it models both associations and common features between artifacts and entities that may be abstract or reside outside the museum (e.g. eras and archaeological sites, respectively) through specialized filtering and group-presentation capabilities. Visitors are free to explore the virtual museum’s world having constant assistance during their navigation. Furthermore, the Virtual Wing provides user interfaces tailored to the needs of different user groups. Research has shown that virtual museum visitors: (i) are particularly interested in visual content (images), (ii) want to be able to find connections and differentiations between items, and (iii) need to follow their own path while browsing the museum’s exhibitions. Moreover, the opinion and interests of museums’ visitors should be exploited in today’s virtual (as well as potentially ‘real’) museum content presentation. Different users have different needs, so museum content presentation should be adjusted in order to best suit them. Therefore, we propose a tailored user monitoring system whose logic can be seen as a pattern for building related components in virtual museums in general.

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