The Archaeological Collections Areas Database and Map, compiled on behalf of the Society of Museum Archaeologists, provides an interface to information and contact details on the collecting areas of English museums. The resource is based around an intuitive map interface allowing users to drill down from the county level to individual units and districts and their relevant Museums. The ultimate aim of the project is to provide mapped information on each museum's catchment area for the deposition of archaeological archives. The database information is based upon a survey of 141 museums or museum services. The project has revealed not only the extent of museum collection areas but also the approaches adopted towards the collecting of archives together with the levels of curatorial and conservation skills present in English museums. A copy of the full report, together with its appendices, is available for download on the site. The website is easily navigable through the standard ADS interface and users are required to accept the ADS terms and conditions prior to accessing the resource. Contact information for individual museums is provided through external links to the Cornucopia:Discovering UK Collections website. The project report and appendices are provided for download in Microsoft Word document format.
The Archives Made Easy website, hosted by the International History Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is an invaluable guide to archives across the globe. The aim of the site is to equip researchers with all the necessary information about a particular archive prior to embarking on a research trip. As such, this resource intends to help eliminate unrewarding and unexpectedly costly trips. Archives are indexed on the site by country and users should note that this index is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to world archives (a full index can be accessed via the UNESCO archives portal). Rather, only archives that have been reviewed are listed here. For each archive, users will find a comprehensive review - available as a Word document - which includes information on how to get to the archive; how to get started accessing material there; opening hours; general working conditions; photocopying and technology policies; and any other relevant details. The reviews are written by researchers themselves and as such frequently take a more subjective tone, offering advice based on personal experience. Users are invited to submit their own reviews of particular archives, and may also update existing reviews through a template provided on the site. At the time of cataloguing, the site focused upon archives from the UK, the USA, China, Russia and from a range of countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The clarity and relevance of the information provided by Archives Made Easy makes this a crucial resource for historical researchers.
Base Joconde is a site hosted by the French government that provides a catalogue of the collections held in French museums. The title of the site is a reference to Leonardo da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa painting, held at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The site is testament to France's great wealth of museum collections which embrace archaeology; the fine arts; the decorative arts; ethnology; history; science; and technology. The site lists participating museums across France, with good contact and location information. It also gives highly detailed and illustrated lists of individual items in each museum's collection. This database should be primarily valuable for Art Historians and scholars working in French Studies. However, some collections cover broader areas and users should check carefully for artistic examples stemming from Franco-America; Asia; other parts of Europe; and elsewhere. A quick overview of non-French holdings is evident under the Recherche par listes (Search by lists) function, in which users can cross search the database by means of themed lists, especially under such rubrics as Lieux géographiques étrangers; Lieux de création / exécution à l'étranger; and Lieux de découverte à l'étranger. Social and Cultural Historians should also find this resource helpful, with its range of ancient to modern artifacts and art pieces. The site's links list is truly impressive, opening onto many relevant sites and portals. Under the heading Nouveautés, the site additionally lists upcoming exhibitions and gives beautiful sample images. Small online exhibitions with equally appealing images are posted under the main headings Parcours thématiques and Expositions virtuelles. Here, the Victor Guillen historical shoe collection is a particular highlight, featuring, a woman's mule from the French Revolution along with other historical footwear.
The Bath Preservation Trust was founded in 1934 to protect the city's unique architectural heritage. Its website provides background information about the Trust and its work, specifically giving information on the buildings and museums in the city of Bath under their protection (the Trust's headquarters at Number 1 Royal Crescent, which features a description and illustrated tour of the building; the Bath Museum building; Beckford's Tower and Museum; and the William Herschel Museum). The website gives information on the buildings, opening times, brief histories, exhibitions and education and events at each site. The website is easy to navigate. Two main menus allow the site to be explored via the individual buildings, or through more basic information on maps and directions, a guest book (which is also browsable online), a search facility and a news and events page. This site is most suitable for those intending to visit the buildings or join the Preservation Trust, and provides basic information on the history of these sites within the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath.
BMAGIC is Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery's Online Database. It offers a quick keyword search of a selection of collection objects and information exported from their internal records, and also an advanced search option which offers the ability to search by material, date, place and theme. You can use the website to bookmark found objects for future reference. There is a browseable text-based directory that uses the following headings: Antiquities; Applied Art; Coins and Medals; Ethnography; Fine Art; Social History; and Topographical Views. The BMAGIC project appears to be ongoing, and new records are being added. Unfortunately the titles of objects (such as 'Last of England' the title of perhaps the most famous painting in the BM&AG collection) are not indexed. However you can search for the artist name (e.g. Ford Madox Brown), and for themes. The entry page for each item shows a large thumbnail image, together with a short note about the subject matter, the date of purchase, and a link to a short biography of the artist. A larger version of the image is available.
This is the website of the Campaign for Museums, which was charity that was "created in 1995 to promote museums and galleries throughout the UK". Its activities involved organising the annual Museums and Galleries Month in conjunction with engage (National Association for Gallery Education), and arranging regular marketing conferences and seminars. The Campaign for Museums also founded the 24 Hour Museum, and supported the Museums in the Classroom and other promotional initiatives. However, the Campaign for Museums was dissolved in 2008, and the activities of the organisation are now administered by Culture24 (formerly the 24 Hour Museum). Information about all of the organisation's previous activities have been archived on the website, with links to relevant websites and contact information.
COLLAGE (the City of London Library and Art Gallery Electronic) is an online image database created by the City of London and iBase Image Systems. The database currently contains approximately 20,000 images from the Guildhall Library and Guildhall Art Gallery in London. The collection is devoted primarily to London topography and London life from the 15th Century to the present day. All parts of London (not just the City) are covered, as are the adjoining counties. Each image is accompanied by a description of the picture and details of, for example, the artist, size of the picture, date, publisher, medium, etc., as appropriate. The database can be searched or browsed by artists, places or people, or by categories such as abstract ideas, history, politics, or the natural world. A series of online exhibitions are also available, as well as sections bringing together some selected highlights of the collections.
The Collections gateway is a searchable database of historical collections held by a number of museums, archives and libraries in Berkshire and Reading. The project has been founded by a group of Berkshire and Reading-based organisations, the University of Reading Collections Development Project, the University of Reading Library, the Museum of English Rural Life, the Reading Museum Service, and the Berkshire Record Office. Details of the records held by these organisations can be accessed by searching the Collections gateway, which also provides descriptions of collections, recent research, and access information. The project aims to involve other organisations in the scheme, and create a countrywide database of archival, museum and library holdings.
Cornucopia : Discovering UK Collections has been developed by MLA: The Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives. Cornucopia is a fully searchable online database of some 6,000 collections held by almost 2,000 cultural heritage institutions. It also allows those institutions to record and maintain collections descriptions and details using a Web-based direct data entry client. The site offers a 'quick search' (keyword) which returns an alphabetical list of museums where the collection-level description contains a match for the keyword. The full record for a museum includes address details; collection overview; brief description of the building; and any especially notable objects in the collection. Access is also provided by browse lists of People, Places, Subjects and Dates. An advanced search facility provides amongst other things a postcode based search and the option to search across other collections databases and Google concurrently using Web Services. Cornucopia data can be harvested via OAI-PMH and searched externally using SOAP. The site contains brief help pages, contact details and latest news. Details of the technical specification and development are also provided.
This is the website of Culture24 (formerly known as the 24 Hour Museum). Launched in 1999, it is an independent charity that is funded by Arts Council England, the Museums, Libraries, Archives Council, and the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Its aim is to promote UK museums, galleries and heritage attractions and to encourage people to visit attractions across the UK. Arranged by subject, such as art, history, and science and nature, the site provides daily listings of events and exhibitions currently running in UK museums. New exhibitions are displayed from the home page, and you can search the website or browse by article, venue, event, resource, or website. A section for teachers provides professional advice and information. The 'Spliced' area contains the same content as in the subject pages, but arranged by type of collection - for example, books and manuscripts; sound and oral histories; film and video; pictures; and online collections. The website has launched a newsletter summarising the top stories and events; it includes a welcome section on offers to visit museums, including discounts for exhibitions.
The website of CyMAL: Museums Libraries and Archives Wales is a central resource for researchers across a range of disciplines and at all levels. Hosted by the Welsh Assembly Government, it offers an overview of available information services throughout Wales, from the smallest local museum to national archives. It also has current news on a range of issues of local and national importance, such as environment and heritage, with details of grants available to enable library and museum staff to run projects at local community level. It also contains details of The CyMAL Professional Development programme, which offers free courses for staff in Welsh museum, libraries and archives, focused on best practice in the sector. The site is clearly laid out and easy to navigate.
The online Directory of South West Museums, Libraries, and Archives, provided by MLA South West, features information almost 2,000 museums, galleries, libraries, and archives in South West England, plus other relevant organisations such as specialist support services and governing bodies. The directory may be searched by museum content (from agriculture to transport) or by locality. Alternatively, searches may be conducted by keywords from the museum description. Results include each museum's name and address, with a description of the content; visitor information such as opening hours, pricing, and concessions; access details for disabled visitors; information on public transport links and the availability of parking; and a link to the museum's website if it has one. The directory is part of the broader MLA South West website, which contains more general information on development programmes and collections.
The eMuseum website provides highly detailed images and brief descriptions of national treasures and important cultural properties held by the museums of Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara. A large number of Japanese artefacts together with earlier Chinese paintings and documents are presented. All the information on the site is available in five languages: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, English and French. Although the home page is only in Japanese, clicking on any of the icons for the different categories leads to an easy-to-use graphical interface in all five languages. Images are organised into the following categories: Japanese painting (11th-13th centuries and 15th-19th centuries); Chinese paintings (Song and Yuan dynasties); Swords and Blades; Others (includes Buddhist statues, votive and ritual objects and vessels); Buddhist sutras and Chinese classics; Japanese Classic and Historical documents; Japanese and Chinese calligraphy; Textiles. Once a category is selected the user is presented with a list of all objects within that section, which leads through to a more detailed record for each object. This contains a thumbnail image, information of an object's date, period, material and provenance and a brief description. Navigation buttons also allow the user to browse an entire section without returning to the initial list. The thumbnail image provides access to a larger version image of the object that can in turn be enlarged further and viewed in detailed segments. Certain objects on the website also have the option to view them from different angles using the 'Image Browser' option. The eMuseum website is easy to use (but also includes a multilingual 'how to use' section) and provides easy access to very high quality images of a large number of important objects.
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University online public access catalogue (OPAC) enables the search and retrieval of over 80,000 records describing objects in the museum's collections of paintings, drawings, manuscripts, books, coins, and antiquities. The catalogue is a work in progress and at the time of writing contained 'over 110,000 records online and over 38,000 of these records have digital images attached'. The catalogue's strengths include paintings, drawings, prints, Egyptian antiquities, sculpture, porcelain, pottery, and Korean ceramics. Many of the records also have a digital image of the object available. The catalogue may be searched by a range of fields including: collection, creator, title, object type, description and date.
The London museums of health and medicine site, created by the London Museums of Health and Medicine Group, provides information on over twenty health and medical museums in London. The type of information available for each museum listed includes: a brief description of individual collections, opening hours, addresses, location details, email addresses, and a link to the museum's website (if available). An interactive map of London displays the exact location of each institution. Additionally, the site offers a news section and maintains a news archive. The list of museums includes amongst others: the Chelsea Physic Garden; Freud Museum; Florence Nightingale Museum; Old Operating Theatre; Veterinary Museum; Worshipful Society of Apothecaries; and the Wellcome Trust.
This is the website of the Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, and a major public Museum in Manchester, UK. The Museum, with its origins in the 18th Century, encompasses a huge range of artefacts, specimens and objects (some 4.25 million) and includes important collections of anthropology; archaeology; archery; Egyptology; geology; human remains; natural history; numismatics; palaeontology. The website describes the collections in more detail (as well as showcasing highlights from them) and the museum's online catalogue can be searched. Further areas of interest include links to the Museum’s research (related to both its collections, practice and the institution’s own history), staff and extensive community outreach work. As a university museum, the Manchester Museum receives some core funding from the AHRC.
Manchester Museums Unwrapped is an online database of the collections available at five of Manchester's museums. The site is published by the University of Manchester, and has received funding from the Designation Challenge Fund. With this database, users can search the collections of the Manchester Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, The People's History Museum, Manchester City Galleries, and the Whitworth Art Gallery separately or simultaneously. Some of the items included can be browsed under the topics cotton, people, Manchester, animals, and plants, and personalised searches can be made using the advanced search facility. All of the items have detailed records, which include a description and the location of the artefact, and some also include an image.
Through the multilingual MICHAEL service, users can find and explore digital collections from museums, archives, libraries and other cultural institutions from across France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The MICHAEL project has been funded through the European Commission's eTen programme. Users can search, browse and examine descriptions of resources held in institutions from France, Italy and the UK. The website also includes the latest editorials about the project, and a 'stories' section with testimonials from users. The website is available in English, French and Italian. The MICHAEL Plus project will enhance the contents of the portal by adding resources from a further 11 European countries.
The Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA) London website is designed as an online resource for people working in the information sector. The site is the result of collaboration between the London Museums Agency, the London Archives Regional Council, and the London Libraries Development Agency. On the site users can find information on the sector, and search through case studies highlighting innovative collaborative projects. Under the heading partnership, users can also explore the benefits of museums, libraries and archives working together, with case studies on cross-domain work. In addition to this there is the priorities section that discusses the six priority areas MLA London is currently focusing on, and a news page.
Musei dell'artigianato (Craft museums) is a website made available by Confartigianato, an Italian association that brings together craftsmen. This project aims to promote and create a network of local museums that specialise in preserving local identity and experience with regard to craftsmen and their work. Users can search for museums by name or browse a list by region or category. Records for museums display opening times, contact details, and a brief description of the holdings. Some museums have a short online tour, viewable via RealPlayer. This site also includes information on latest news, events, and conference details. There is a bibliography of relevant publications and a section aimed at children. This site is supported by the Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali (Ministry for Goods and Cultural Activities). This resource would interest anyone studying Italian art and crafts or history, particularly at a local level.
Musei online (Italian museums online) is an online directory of over 3,500 museums in Italy. Its aim is to promote Italian cultural heritage. Users can locate museums either by an advanced search facility or by browsing by type or region. Museums are divided into categories such as: art; history; scientific; specialist; and archaeology. Information such as opening times, contact details, and prices are given for each museum, along with a brief summary of its key holdings. Details about services offered by individual museums and links to some museum websites are also included. The site provides information on temporary exhibitions and special events being held in Italian museums. It is available in both Italian and English and is maintained by ADN Kronos Cultura and supported by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. It is of value as a way of locating specific museums or of browsing for resources.
The Coudal.com Museum of Online Museums (MoOM) is a website linking to online collections and exhibits. Coudal Partners is a design, advertising and interactive studio in Chicago, who produced this site "as an ongoing experiment in Web publishing, design and commerce". It covers a vast array of interests and obsessions of the staff and clients of this design agency. The MoOM is organised into three sections: the Museum Campus links to museums with an interesting online presence; the Permanent Collection links to exhibits of particular interest to design and advertising; and Galleries, Exhibition, and Shows is an eclectic and ever-changing list of interesting links to collections and galleries, most of them hosted on personal Web pages. These include the gallery of East German paper bags and the museum of 1970s matchbox cars. There is everything here from classic art and architecture through to what is described by the compiler as "an intriguing collection of ...intriguing collections". Historical and exhibited collections of posters or maps are located elsewhere in the Coudal.com archives, as this is a specialism of this agency.
This is the website for Museums and Galleries Month (MGM), which was an event that took place in May of each year, and was organised by the Campaign for Museums on a specific theme. However, the Campaign for Museums has been dissolved, and its activities have been taken over by Culture24 (formerly known as the 24 Hour Museum). The MGM website highlights the events and activities arranged throughout the UK and provides the facility to search for what is happening in a particular area and region of the country. Museums and Galleries Month is a celebration of the fact that "more people go to museums and galleries than go to football matches!" and acts as a good reminder to revisit your favourite gallery or museum and to discover new ones. For those wishing to organise events, a range of information is provided, including a publicity kit.
The Museums of Russia portal contains details of over 3,500 museums within the Russian Federation. The site is almost entirely in Russian with some idiosyncratic English (an English version is planned and under construction). It is a comprehensive starting point for discovering the collections and exhibitions of most Russian museums and galleries, with links to many of them provided. The site includes: a searchable directory of museums and cultural websites; a section which gives you a random selection of links from the database to museum sites, with resource descriptions; information for tourists; news on new exhibitions; and a section where maps of Saint Petersburg and Moscow may be searched for their many museums. There is also a message board, a discussion list, a section with Surround Video clips of museum interiors, and information on CD-ROMs available on Russian cultural heritage. This site can be slow to operate.
The Web Site "Muzea, Archiwa, Biblioteki Polskie na Zachodzie" (MABPZ - Polish Museums, Archives, and Libraries in the West) is published by the Polish Library in Montreal. The site is in Polish. It is an extremely useful list of places that contain good collections of Polish materials and holdings. The list includes museums, archives, and libraries in Canada, Great Britain, the USA, Switzerland, France, and Italy. A short commentary about the holdings accompanies information about the locations and accessibility of the collections. This site is excellent for those carrying out research on Poland, Polonia, or Polish studies at postgraduate or post-doctoral level.
This is the website of the National Museums of Scotland. The site acts as a hub from which the individual museums may be accessed as well as providing services and information common to all of the national museums. These include news on forthcoming events, competitions, exhibitions, and special educational programmes, as well as information about the collections for researchers. The individual museums that constitute the whole are: The Royal Museum; the Museum of Scotland; the Museum of Flight; the Museum of Scottish Country Life; the Museum of Costume; the National War Museum; and the Museum of Piping. The site also contains an online gift shop. This site provides a good guide to what is presented in each of the museums as well as giving their contact and opening details. It does not however contain much primary material in itself.
The Web Site Observatoire des musées is a virtual portal for the museums of Quebec, Canada. It is an extremely professional site, well-designed and easily-navigable, which has been nominated in the competition for Best On-line Exhibition or Activity Site in Museums and the Web 2004: Best of the Web. The site has both French and English versions and aims to be a guide to Quebec's large variety of museums. It can be browsed by region, theme, or museum. The themes are divided into history and archaeology, science, and art, and then further sub-divided. It is an excellent guide to the many historical influences evident in Canadian and Quebecois culture. Enriched by sound clips and many images, the site also has geographical routes that can be followed. A good site for anyone interested in Canada, which covers information and details of over 400 museums.
This is the website of the Prince of Wales Northwest Territories (NWT) heritage centre, in Yellowknife, Canada. Environmental concerns combined with burgeoning oil, gas, and lucrative mining interests, and especially the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, make this region a focus of increasing scrutiny. Secondary teachers will find helpful teaching tools, such as the animated timeline which explains the history of the NWT from the early 18th century. Elementary and secondary teachers will also find a whole subsite with helpful plans, online activities and Edukits. Members of the public will find informative and highly accessible virtual exhibitions and samplings from former and current museum exhibitions. Researchers will take particular note of the British imperial aspects of the site, especially the history of the Hudson`s Bay Company and the Northwest passage. The site is also the platform for the official NWT archives and provides: an online searchable database of over 2,000 photographs; an oral traditions research guide; summaries of recent NWT archaeological fieldwork; reports on historical landmarks; maps; archival finding aids and online archival catalogue; and a place names database. The highlight of the site is the NWT Archives Education Photo Gallery, which reveals archival holdings while chronicling life in the territories through the 20th century, including: specific towns; art; music; festivals; business; utilities; education; the media; agriculture; mining; and the oil and gas industries. The photographs are easily browsable with a good set of menus.
This website is the result of a project to digitise the Pitt Rivers Museum's collections from Southern Sudan, including 5000 photographs and 1300 objects. The website is fully searchable and is also browsable by area; photography and photographers; people; cultural group; and object type, and the digitised images can be enlarged and saved to a lightbox. The contents of the site provide a rich illustration of the history and ethnography of the cultures of Southern Sudan, drawn from various early twentieth century expeditions to the region. The project has received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
"Steve" is a collaborative research project exploring the potential of user-generated terminology to describe works of art. The project has been developed by members of the art museum community, with the aim of improving access to online collections and to encourage user engagement with cultural content. The website includes a cataloguing prototype for users to contribute their own keyword terms to various artworks. There is also a project discussion list; FAQs, information about the development of the project; papers and presentations, web links, and other references. Institutional participants include: The Cleveland Museum of Art; Denver Art Museum; Guggenheim Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Rubin Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Archive & Museum Informatics; and Think Design, inc.
This website gathers together information and resources on the collections, exhibitions and activities of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). The museum's collections cover live performing arts (drama, dance, opera, musical theatre, circus, puppetry, music hall and live art) in Britain from the sixteenth century. Material in the collections (which can be browsed and searched from here) includes costumes, designs, manuscripts, books, video recordings, posters and paintings. The website also includes a wide range of related resources, including reading lists, video interviews with theatre professionals, indepth features on various themed around aspects of the collections such as costume design.
The “Virtual Museum of Canada” bilingual website (French and English) contains hundreds of online multimedia exhibitions covering various aspects of Canadian archaeology, history, art, and culture. The site also acts as a directory of Canadian museums and an educational resource for schoolteachers. The site aims to be enjoyable and technologically cutting-edge. Whilst the presentation is frequently impressive, with different plug-ins required for a number of exhibitions, the wealth of animated menus and pop-up messages can slow access in some of the exhibitions. Indeed, some of the exhibitions do not work. The diverse range of exhibitions can be searched via the subject headings of “history and society”, “arts and leisure”, “science and technology”, and “nature”, and by name and exhibit type. In addition, there are searchable image galleries of works by Canadian artists and photographers with special collections on canoes, kayaks, totems, ice hockey, and other Canadian obsessions. Moreover, a toggle button allows transition between English/French versions of the pages. Overall, the site is directed more towards the general public and the younger learner rather than the scholar, but the breadth of material and quality of the exhibitions should make the site well worth visiting for students of Canadian history and culture.
The British Museum, in partnership with nine other museums in Great Britain, have provided this website featuring 2,000 artefacts from their collections. Using interactive maps and timelines these objects are put into their geographical and chronological context, in relation to what was happening in Africa, Americas, Asia, Euorpe, Oceania as well as the British Isles. Each continent is then broken down into regional areas. The timeline viewer, which runs from the Palaeolithic period to the 20th century, requires Flash player 7 or later. The nine other museums represented on this site are Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Carmarthenshire County Museum, Horniman Museum, Norwich Castle Museum, Hampshire Museum Service, York Museums Trust, Chester Grosvenor Museum, Leicester City museums and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.