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It is interesting to note how and why the once-staid museums have embraced 21st century technology (web 2.0) to allow access to its trove, while the book publishing industry has clung to 19th century technology to continue to deny access to its trove.

At the same time, it is extremely interesting to see how museums have adopted new media technology to their purpose of making art accessible. Further, unlike the book publishers, museums feel it will take away the foreboding feeling and actually increase museum attendance. The websites are also excellent e-commerce tools with everything from memberships to gift shops, all just one click away.

The blog already contains a post on the magnificent Google Art Project with the cooperation of now 151 museums to bring art to you, and closer than you can ever get in a museum.

The blog also has posts on the Van Gogh Museum, the Van Gogh Letters, and the Museum of Modern Art Australia. as outstanding examples of the use of 21st century new media technology.

This post profiles the websites of 3 museums in the United States that have successfully used the new media. The comments will highlight some of their cool features.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met continues to use its considerable star power to draw the stars and the star exhibits. Here are some features of the website.

The Media Page has Videos, Podcasts, and Interactive Art. The Media page also showcases videos directed by the famed Bas Luhrmann.

The Museum builds on the blockbuster success of their Alexander McQueen Exhibition, with their new Schiaparelli/Prada Exhibition, complete with a replay of the live stream of the Red Carpet Opening.

Oh, and the MET has some other great Exhibits too.

Walker Art Center
A great feature of this site is the “Lifelike” Page . Here you will see things that you would never see in a museum such as installation of the giant table and chairs, Robert Therrien’s Table and Chairs, Which the actual installation work and the workers. Other museums, such as the Barnes Foundation, and the MFA in Boston have adopted this feature.

International Center of Photography
This site has a great flash Home Page. A unique feature of this site is the ARCHIVE / LIVE Page where you can see videos of the Museum's Lectures, something you could only have done before by attending the lecture, in person, in New York. Now, if you want to see the Lectures from the Winter of 2012, you can click on any name in bold and watch the lecture: Here's a list of the lectures from the Winter of 2012:

February 1: Todd Eberle / February 8: Doug Rickard / February 15: Jeffrey Henson Scales / February 22: Dana Lixenberg / February 29: Thorsten Brinkmann March 7: Richard Rothman / March 14: Susan Derges / March 21: Christopher Bucklow / March 28: Deana Lawson / April 18: Robert Polidori.

There is the dynamic Photomuse.org, the online expression of a long-term alliance between George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film and the International Center of Photography.

There is also a Page titled, Q&A with transcripts of interviews with artists. The current interview is with Ed Parnar, author of Animals That Saw Me, Volume One.

The Museum Store deserves mention as well. One of the new books there is The New Woman International:Representations in Photography and Film from the 1870s through the 1960s is the first book to examine modern femininity’s ongoing relationship with the 19th and 20th centuries’ most influential new media: photography and film.

There will be a book signing on June 15th

The Shop also offers a nifty camera pencil sharpener, which no photographer should have to do without.

With all this new media onslaught, “What’s a poor book publisher to do?” (To be continued…)

Acknowledgement is due to an article by Kyle Chayka, published in the May 18, 2012 issue of ARTINFO titled, ARTINFO Ranks the Top 10 Best Museum Web Sites, From the Hirshhorn to the Aspen Art Museum.


  1. […] to have many purposely built- in barriers to access, primarily based on economics. A prior post, “E MUSEUMS LEAVE E BOOKS IN THE DUST: A VIEW FROM TWO DIFFERENT CENTURIES,” discussed the fact that museums have gone far beyond e-book publishers. Another post on this blog, […]

  2. […] ‘”the Van Gogh Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, both the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia. Overall, we continue to believe that museums are in the forefront of adapting New Media technology to their mission (see the blog piece, “e- Museums Leave e-Books in the Dust – A View from Two  Different Centuries“’. […]

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