Museum International

Dossier: Museums and the Internet (2)

u The virtual museumJonathan Bowen

u Pioneering a digital media art museum on the Web - Lin Hsin Hsin

u Virtual Eldorado: the Museo del Oro on the Internet - Eduardo Londoņo L.

u Building a Web site - Jim Angus

u The Topkapi Palace MuseumA. Enis Cetin, Omer N. Gerek and Ahmed H. Tewfik

u MUVA: a virtual museum in Uruguay - Alicia Haber

u Cultural computing: exploiting interactive digital media - James Devine and Ray Welland

u Cybernetics, modernism and pleasure in - Greg Van Alstyne


u A 'chamber of wonders' in London: Sir John Soane's Museum - Mihail Moldoveanu


u Understanding the city: Abasto in Buenos Aires - Cinthia Rajschmir

Summary of Articles

u The virtual museum
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 an active participant in subsequent conferences.

u Pioneering a digital media art museum on the Web
Lin Hsin Hsin

The award-winning Lin Hsin Hsin Art Museum has attracted more than 500,000 visitors from 107 countries since it was launched in April 1995 ( ). Its creator is an information technologist, artist and poet based in Singapore who has built a repertoire of some 1,000 works of electronic and digital art. She is one of the six judges for the best art Web sites organized by Museums and the Web in 1998. Besides living in cyberspace, she has penned more than 100 articles published in computer newspapers, international proceedings and journals, and has had fifteen one-person and more than 190 group exhibitions in forty-one cities across twenty countries in Asia, Europe, North and South America. In describing her groundbreaking work on the Internet, she has employed a number of technical terms, which are explained in a glossary at the end of the article.

u Virtual Eldorado: the Museo del Oro on the Internet
Eduardo Londoņo L.

The Museo del Oro in Bogotá houses one of the premier collections of pre-Columbian artefacts, gold pieces of outstanding beauty and significance. Thanks to its presence on the Internet, the institution has become known to a world-wide audience while at the same time strengthening its impact on the surrounding community. Eduardo Londoņo, Head of Cultural Activities at the museum, explains.

u Building a Web site
Jim Angus

How does a major museum build and maintain a large Web Site? What are the points to bear in mind and the pitfalls to avoid? Jim Angus provides a step-by-step approach based on his strong professional experience. Manager of Information Technology and Web Development at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, he is part of a small cadre of pioneers who led the way in museum Web site design late in 1993. He is the author of more than seven major Web sites and notably, the Natural History Museum's Web site, which was selected for 'best educational use at the first 'Museums and the Web' conference in 1997.

u The Topkapi Palace Museum
A.Enis Cetin, Omer N. Gerek and Ahmed H. Tewfik

A city-like ensemble overlooking the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus, Istanbul's legendary Topkapi Palace became a synonym for Ottoman history and the heart of a far-flung empire for 400 years. Transformed into a museum, it houses a vast and disparate treasure. Presenting both the splendours of the palace and the richness of its collections on the Internet was the challenge described below. The authors, all with backgrounds in electrical engineering, are professionally involved in areas of advanced research in the new technologies. After having served as visiting associate professor at the University of Minnesota in the United States, A. Enis Cetin, is a professor at Bilkent University in Ankara and chairman of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)-EURASIP (European Association for Signal Processing) Non-linear Signal and Image Processing Workshop, held in Ankara in June 1999. Omer N. Gerek is currently with the Signal Processing Laboratory of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-EPFL in Lausanne (on leave from the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey). Ahmed H. Tewfik is a professor of electronic communications at the University of Minnesota and was the first Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Signal Processing Letters in 1993.

u MUVA: a virtual museum in Uruguay
Alicia Haber

An architecturally stunning museum with a unique collection of contemporary art, MUVA can be found only on the Internet -and in the imagination of the creative team responsible for its existence. Alicia Haber is its director and guiding spirit. She is a teacher of art history and has served as artistic adviser and chief exhibition curator for the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Montevideo since 1988. The author of many books and monographs, she has also received a number of prestigious grants and awards, including the Rockefeller Foundation Mentor Grant and a Fulbright grant for research on art administration to work at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. One of Uruguay's most renowned art critics, she was elected the best Latin American critic of the year in 1988 by the Art Critics Association of Argentina.

u Cultural computing: exploiting interactive digital media
James Devine and Ray Welland

The Web site of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery at the University of Glasgow had to respond to a number of imperatives. First and foremost, it was to make the collections available to schools in the most remote areas of Scotland as a complement to their curriculum. It then had to highlight an extremely diverse collection ranging from archaeology to zoology, with side trips including the voyages of Captain Cook and the house of world-famous architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The solution was found by using a mix of interactive technologies in an innovative and imaginative way. James Devine is head of Education and Digital Media Resources at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery. He has spearheaded a wide variety of innovative multimedia projects focused around the Hunterian collections, including an award-winning Web site, and, with colleagues in the Computing Science Department, has developed new applications for leading-edge technologies. More recently, he led field expeditions to Knossos in Crete to create Quick Time Virtual Reality tours of the Minoan palace complex on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Athens and the Greek Ministry of Culture. Ray Welland is head of the Department of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. His main research interest is in software engineering and, more particularly, in its application to the creation of large, multi-authored Web sites.

u Cybernetics, modernism and pleasure in
Greg Van Alstyne

One of the foremost museums of its kind in the world, New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) quite naturally turned to modernist design tenets in creating its Web site so as to reflect the very 'spirit, or life energy' of the institution itself. Greg Van Alstyne, the museum's Design Manager, New Media, describes the thinking behind this unusual conceptual approach.

u A 'chamber of wonders' in London: Sir John Soane's Museum

Mihail Moldoveanu

Mihail Moldoveanu, a freelance photographer and writer based in Paris, describes a museum that is an intensely personal reflection of one collector's eclectic and wide-ranging artistic passions.

u Drive and vision: the Museum Pambata in Manila

Cristina Lim-Yuson

A children's museum with an impressive urban outreach programme, the Philippines' Museo Pambata is above all a model of civic consciousness and pride. The author is one of its founders and is now the museum's executive director and concept developer. She holds a doctorate in Early Childhood Education from the University of the Philippines.

u Understanding the city: Abasto in Buenos Aires
Cinthia Rajschmir

Explaining how cities function, revealing their underlying and often invisible workings, helping children to grasp the complex urban environment in which they live -these were the challenges that led to the creation of an unusual children's museum in Buenos Aires. Cinthia Rajschmir was a member of the team that founded the Museo de los Niņos: Abasto (Abasto Children's Museum) and participated in the development of the main theme, the pedagogical content and the basic materials used for the museum's design. She is a graduate in the pedagogical sciences and since 1993 has formed part of the editorial team of the Revista Novedades Educativas (Educational News Review). She is currently engaged in research on the history of Argentine school museums as part of a project being carried out by the University of Buenos Aires.

Museum international N° 205

N° 205
Museums and the Internet (2)
Children's museums
Sir John Soane's 'chamber of wonders


Editorial information



Last update 14/06/01