Museum International

Dossier: Museums and the Internet (1)

u Only connect!Jonathan Bowen

u Setting root on the Internet: establishing a network identity for the museum community - Cary Karp

u Developing a national Web site: the Canadian experience - Wendy A. Thomas

u Interactivity comes of age: museums and the World Wide Web - David Bearman and Jennifer Trant

u Online museum co-ordinationMaxwell L. Anderson

u Putting the public first: the French experience - Philippe Avenier

u Science museums on the Internet - Luis Alfredo Baratas Díaz and Angeles del Egido


u Kuntur Wasi: temple, gold, museum... and an experiment in community development - Yoshio Onuki


u Ethnographic museums in Italy: a decade of phenomenal growth - Gaetano Forni


u MoMA goes to Washington - Jesús-Pedro Lorente

Summary of Articles

u Only connect
Jonathan Bowen

Jonathan Bowen is considered by many as the 'founding father' of the Virtual Library museums pages, one of the premier Internet sites in the museum field. He is a lecturer at the Department of Computer Science, University of Reading (United Kingdom), where he leads the Formal Methods and Software Engineering Group, and was previously a senior researcher at the Oxford University Computing Laboratory. He has worked in the field of computing in both industry and academia since 1977 and has served on more than fifteen programme committees including a major working group within the European Union information technologies programme, ESPRIT. The author of 140 publications including nine books, Jonathan Bowen won the 1994 IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineers) Charles Babbage Premium award. In 1997 he was honorary chair, workshop presenter and an invited speaker at the first 'Museums and the Web' conference and has been a n active participant in subsequent conferences.

u Setting root on the Internet: establishing a network identity for the museum community
Cary Karp

How do museums 'make their presence known' amidst the complex and ever-growing maze of World Wide Web sites? What can be done to help users find what they need in a more efficient, less time-consuming manner? Cary Karp explains the ins and outs of locating Web sites and provides insights into what the future may hold in store. The author is director of the Department of Information Technology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History and co-ordinator of Internet resources for the International Council of Museums (ICOM). He plays an active role in setting policies for the administration and enhancement of the Internet's generic Domain Name System and is the operator of numerous Internet domains within the culture and heritage sectors.

u Developing a national Web site: the Canadian experience
Wendy A. Thomas

A bilingual country with a highly developed and geographically far-flung web of museums and cultural heritage institutions, Canada has been at the forefront of information technology and Internet use. The renowned Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) pioneered the concept of a 'gateway' Web site that shepherds users comfortably to their final destination and provides them with a rich panoply of side trips covering a vast array of information. The author is Project Leader with Professional Programs at CHIN in Ottawa and serves as their liaison with the Canadian provincial museums associations and regional networks. She is the editor of Heritage Forum, an online professional journal, participated in research and development for the Guide to Canadian Museums and Galleries and for Artefacts Canada, and researched terminology on the Religious Objects project of the Canada-France Agreement.

u Interactivity comes of age: museums and the World Wide Web
David Bearman and Jennifer Trant

With the speed that characterizes the entire Internet phenomenon, the International Conference on Museums and the Web, which broke new ground when it was first held in 1997, has already become an annual event of major importance to the museum world. The co-chairs of the 1999 Conference, themselves path-breakers in this new medium, describe how participants viewed the transformations taking place. David Bearman, President of Archives & Museum Informatics, consults on information management for cultural heritage institutions world-wide. Since 1991, he has organized and chaired the biennial conferences of the International Cultural Heritage Information Meeting (ICHIM) and is the author of over 125 books and articles on museum and archives information management issues. Jennifer Trant is a partner in Archives & Museum Informatics and was also co-chair of ICHIM99. She serves as executive director of the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), and editor-in-chief of Archives and Museum Informatics, the cultural heritage informatics quarterly from Kluwer Academic Publishers. She is on the programme committee of the Digital Libraries 1999 conference, and the board of the Media and Technology Committee of the American Association of Museums.

u Online museum co-ordination
Maxwell L. Anderson

The 'isolationist' approach adopted by many museums with regard to their Web sites is in total contradiction to the potential of the World Wide Web to connect museum to one another and to their end users so as to provide and infinite richness of information and knowledge. Art museums have taken the lead in developing inter-institutional collaboration to serve the professional community and the public at large and Maxwell L. Anderson has been one of the pivotal figures in this movement. He became director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in September 1998, having previously served as director of Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario (1995-98) and of Atlanta's Michael C. Carlos Museum (1987-95). A leader in the application of new technologies to museums, he has lectured and published widely on topics ranging from international art law to museum architecture and has taught at Princeton University and the Università di Roma.

u Putting the public first: the French experience
Philippe Avenier

Linking applications that were initially conceived for very different audiences was the challenge facing the French authorities who wished to offer the public 'a data system on French museums that was readily accessible and as comprehensive as possible'. Philippe Avenier is a research engineer at the Ministry of Culture and Communication. He has been engaged for a number of years in setting up and monitoring programmes on the application of new technologies in the cultural sphere, initially at the French Research and Technology Mission and thereafter at the French Directorate of Museums, where he is responsible for co-ordinating computerization policy in his capacity as chief of the Information Technology and Research Bureau.

u Science museums on the Internet
Luis Alfredo Baratas Díaz and Angeles del Egido

Sifting for information through an ever-increasing number of science museums on the Internet is often a time-consuming and frustrating Task. Yet these sites can be genuine tools for historical research and the dissemination of scientific knowledge once their navigation is mastered. The authors, both researchers at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Madrid, describe their efforts in this direction. They have participated in projects to document and publish information on historical collections of scientific instruments and have been active in developing Internet resources. Alfredo Baratas Díaz is also the editor of the Internet pages of the Real Sociedad Española de Historia Natural (Royal Spanish Society of Natural History) and the Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de Las Técnicas (Spanish Society of the History of Science and Technology).

u Kuntur Wasi: temple, gold, museum… and an experiment in community development
Yoshio Onuki

For more than 10,000 years, the Andean world has existed in a cultural continuum with an inherent unity between nature and humankind and an intrinsic dynamic of reciprocity and complementarity between the past, present and future. This was clearly demonstrated when, in 1972, Peruvian peasant farmers in the village of La Conga decided that they themselves would preserve and protect the archaeological site of Kuntur Wasi, thus ushering in an unprecedented socio-cultural experience that transformed the ruins of the past into the basis of a community's present and future development. This unusual story is told by Yoshio Onuki, chief of the Archaeological Mission of Tokyo University, director of the Kuntur Wasi Museum and himself a major figure in its creation and growth.

u Ethnographic museums in Italy: a decade of phenomenal growth
Gaetano Forni

A combination of unique historical and political factors has given rise to a veritable explosion in the number of Italian ethnographic museums in recent years. Gaetano Forni, of the Lombardy Museum of Agricultural History, traces the history of this movement and reflects on its meaning in contemporary life. The author is national secretary of the Association of Agro-Ethnographic Museums and organized its second National Congress in February 1998. He is an honorary member of the International Association of Agricultural Museums and a contributor since 1971 to the Centre for Studies and Research on Agrarian Museology at Milan University. His many publications on museology include the groundbreaking Guida ai musei etnografici Italiani (Guide to Italian Ethnographic Museums).

u MoMA goes to Washington
Jesús-Pedro Lorente

In this vignette of a little-known phase in the annals of American art museums, Jesús-Pedro Lorente recalls the short-lived (1937-39) Washington outpost of New York's famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). More than a simple footnote to history, the story provides a glimpse of the past that invites reflection on why museums 'wax and wane'. The author is a lecturer in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Zaragoza (Saragossa), Spain, and the author of Cathedrals of Urban Modernity. The First Museums of Contemporary Art, 1800-1930, published in 1998.

Museum international N° 204

N° 204
Museums and the Internet (1)
Ethnographic museums in Italy
MoMA goes to Washington


Editorial information



Last update 14/06/01