Contemporary museums face various challenges to the role they have traditionally performed. Virtual reality (VR), collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) and virtual actors provide the means of meeting these challenges. This paper analyses the special qualities of this technology and shows how it can provide a means of broadening the role of the museum by proposing the development of the “kahun” project. This is an Internet based resource for Manchester Museum Education Service using the Deva CVE system aiming to support primary school visitors to the Museum.
The paper describes the development of one part of this project, a leisure activity using an ancient Egyptian board game for two players called "senet". The user studies that took place are outlined and the paper concludes with discussion about the educational value of the resource and directions for future work.