What does it mean for a museum to “go online”?: Examining Online Access to Museum Collection Catalogues and Virtual Museum Tours
More and more often, museums are taking advantage of the open access that the internet provides to offer greater access to online visitors. Museum websites are more than just a way for visitors to seek practical information about their future museum visit (location, ticket prices, current exhibitions), or for museum staff to promote events and exhibitions, they are also a means of providing virtual access to the museum and its collections. Typically, museum websites tend to offer visitors access in one of two ways; either by offering an online collections catalogue, or by offering a virtual tour of the rooms of the museum.
In this meeting, we will discuss the ways that some museums are offering online access to the collections through a digitized catalogue, and how others are offering online access to the collections through a virtual tour of the museum environment. Is one approach more suitable than the other? In what circumstances, or with which kinds collections/museums? How might the experience of visiting the physical museum be altered by the online experience, or vice versa? How might the online museum experience be improved?
Using examples from local and international museum websites, this Virtual Museum Network Amsterdam Meetup will take the shape of an expert meeting to discuss the merits and pitfalls of these two approaches for providing online access to the museum. The discussion will, in turn, help to refine the research goals of a visitor study that will be conducted in the Virtual Museum Laboratory of the Allard Pierson Museum in the coming months.
We will have a limited number of laptops available to facilitate the discussion through live exploration of the museum websites during the Meetup. You are also welcome to bring your own laptop and we can provide internet login details for you here.
Websites to be discussed:
Online Collections Catalogues
The British Museum - www.britishmuseum.org
The Tropenmuseum – www.tropenmuseum.nl
Online Virtual Museum Tours
The Anne Frank House – www.annefrank.org
The Capitoline Museum – www.museicapitolini.org