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Museums and other organizations create online exhibitions for many reasons. For example, an online exhibition may: expand on material presented at, or generate interest in, or create a durable online record of, a physical exhibition; save production costs (insurance, shipping, installation); solve conservation/preservation problems (e.g., handling of fragile or rare objects); reach lots more people: "Access to information is no longer restricted to those who can afford travel and museum visits, but is available to anyone who has access to a computer with an Internet connection.
Unlike physical exhibitions, online exhibitions are not restricted by time; they are not forced to open and close but may be available 24 hours a day.
In the nonprofit world, many museums, libraries, archives, universities, and other cultural organizations create online exhibitions. A database of such exhibitions is Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web. Online exhibitions are also increasingly being utilized by businesses and individuals.
The earliest museum with a physical existence to create a programme of substantial online exhibitions with high resolution images of artefacts was the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, the first of which, The Measurers: a Flemish Image of Mathematics in the Sixteenth Century and an exhibition of early photographs, were published on 21 August 1995.
Also popular now are virtual exhibitions for business, participation in which allows you to save significant funds and cover a larger number of potential customers, without restriction on the place and time. 
- Klaus Müller. "Going Global: Reaching Out for the Online Visitor". American Association of Museums. Retrieved October 6, 2011..
- Wolf, Lauren (11 October 2011). "4 Tips to Engage and Inform Attendees in Your Digital Event". INXPO. Retrieved 3 June 2013.[dead link]
- Thiel, S. (2007). Build It Once: A Basic Primer for the Creation of Online Exhibitions. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 081085225X
- Kalfatovic, M. (2002). Creating a Winning Online Exhibition: A Guide for Libraries, Archives, and Museums. American Library Association. ISBN 0838908179.
- The Measurers: a Flemish Image of Mathematics in the Sixteenth Century
- An exhibition of early photographs
- An example of an online platform with virtual exhibitions for business
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