Site-seers

21st January 2000 at 00:00
In the days before the web became an electronic shoppers' paradise, there was a phrase that Internet propagandists would repeat ad nauseam - that you could "visit the world's great art galleries and inspect their treasures from your own desktop". In other words, that there was more to the net than porn.

This was true to the extent that many galleries had websites, often with a "virtual tour" of collections on the menu. With a few honourable exceptions these would often amount to low-grade images and encouragement to visit the museum or buy the book.

There's now a second wave of art gallery sites: a result of governments encouraging museums to develop online educational resources - and galleries, like everyone else, wanting to cash in on the e-commerce potential of their "brand".

The relaunched Victoria and Albert museum site (www.vam.ac.uk) is an extreme example. No more dreary old lists of galleries, epochs and artists. Visitors arrive at an "Infodome" and click on the shards of an exploding cube to move around: to enter, for example, the stimulating Learning Zone. The shop on this otherwise ace site is as yet undeveloped: to get a taste of what might come to British galleries, visit the splendid ndy Warhol Museum site (www.clpgh.orgwarholinformation). Here you can look at the images, search the Warhol archives, read a learned and well-illustrated treatise on the great man's work, then go to the shop, buy the print, the hooded sweat shirt, the book and the video. Andy would have approved.

Back home, the future looks bright for the new Tate Gallery of Modern Art in the converted Southwark Bankside power station. You can find out about the building, forthcoming exhibitions and education services at www.tate.org.ukfuturebanksideindex.htm.

Another art gallery with a fine tradition of education services is the Whitechapel. Its new website, at www.whitechapel.org, is aggressively different, a web designer's two fingers to the world of printed pages and static images. Each section has its own animated ident: in the case of education, a white pixel goes crazy against a background of blue pixels. Why?

Finally to Britain's oldest public art museum, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, which is to have its own website at www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk. This is to be "dazzling, informative and elegant": but alas, it's not yet visible, so we'll have to take their word for it.

Bill Hicks


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now