Research and Collections

Research and Collections

Museums and the Internet: Eight Years of Canadian Experience – Page 5

– Page 5 –

THE MAKING OF (continued)

Being able to navigate around, or to find something on a specific topic, is a real challenge because we have such a large site. The site now comprises over 30,000 screens of static information, including dozens of virtual exhibitions, gallery tours, articles and monographs, press releases, brochureware, 24 list of publications, and much more. In addition, gives access to various audiovisual presentations (which cannot be measured by numbers of screens or pages), plus our artifact collections database containing about 850,000 records (of which 46,000 are accompanied by artifact images), and the collection catalogue of our library and archives with 260,000 records. As you can imagine, it was necessary to build into the redesigned site a variety of navigation tools, including site index, site map, site search engine, and QuickLinks menus.

Virtual Exhibitions
Virtual Exhibitions – Canadian Museum of Civilization
India, The Living Arts — The Haida: Children of Eagle and Raven — A History of the Native People of Canada — Nineteenth-Century Pottery and Porcelain in Canada — Mysteries of Egypt

Over its almost eight years of existence, the CMCC Web site has seen experiments with a number of Web technologies and applications. In 1995 we opened an online shop, the Cyberboutique, and an online auction was held. 1996 saw the launch of one of the first “Virtual Museum” concepts on the Web, and the pilot of an electronic distance education programme called Cybermentor. In 1997 we added a second Virtual Museum, an international collaboration dedicated to the history of New France. 25 Also in 1997, we produced a QuickTime VR tour of the Canada Hall, 26 our largest permanent exhibition. In 1998, we introduced the site’s first VRML feature (a tour of Tutankhamun’s tomb), 27 an improved version of the Cyberboutique, 28 and the collections databases I already mentioned. In 1999 we experimented with a Webcast of an exhibition opening, 29 and in 2000 we introduced a micro-payment system to sell genealogical information for researching family history. 30

Cyberboutique Virtual Museum Concept
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Virtual Museum concept
Canadian Museum of Civilization

CyberMentor Virtual Museum of New France
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Virtual Museum of New France
Canadian Museum of Civilization

Collections Storage Iqqaipaa Webcast
Collections Storage
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Iqqaipaa: Celebrating Inuit Art – Webcast
Canadian Museum of Civilization

The redesigned site launched last year introduced new sections for specific target audiences. For children, we created role-playing and adventure games of an educational character. 31 For educators we provided a portal to resources such as teachers’ guides, bibliographies, and some illustrated articles written specifically to support the school curriculum. 32 Another portal was provided for academics, giving access to more scholarly information, as well as adding a series of essays written by our curators. 33 Finally the media were given one-stop access to our press releases, media kits, and a password-protected archive of publication-quality digital images. 34 We also introduced a monthly electronic newsletter to which visitors can subscribe.

Mystery at Number 262 Armoured Warrior
Mystery at Number 262
Canadian Children’s Museum
Armoured Warrior
Canadian War Museum

Most of this development has taken place with internal funding resources. Only in the last year have we had access to financial programmes through the Government On-Line initiative. This extra funding helps us to work on collaborative virtual exhibitions and on further digitization of collections.


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