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British Museum: Ancient Egypt

This site - the first in a planned series on ancient civilisations from the British Museum's educational multimedia unit - is likely to become an instant classic.

It is designed for key stage 2 pupils, and draws on the museum's collections, the expertise and story-telling skills of its staff, and some superior animations to entice children to explore life and death in Egypt.

Click on the coffin lid to reveal the secrets of mummification; roll your mouse over hieroglyphs for an instant translation; dodge the crocodiles in your desperate bid to escape the underworld.

Children at the launch made straight for the games that conclude each of the nine topic areas. But the site contains enough information to fuel a term's worth of lessons and more.

The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Another great museum, another big sponsor (IBM), another massive website, this one delving deep into collections of around three million artefacts housed in and around Catherine the Great's winter palace. Online, the treasures are stored in a digital archive containing enough Raphaels, Titians, Brueghels, Picassos, and others to keep art lovers happy for weeks. And there are equally impressive selections from the jewellery, ceramics, arms and armour, sculpture, prints, drawings, and costume collections.

Bill Hicks

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