Around the Internet: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Around the Internet: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has recently unveiled a new web site which endeavors to reach the laudable dual goals of “scholarship and accessibility.” Rather than using the web site as a simple reference point for visitors or as a catalog of works held by the institution, the museum has opted to attempt to deliver a completely different online experience to the one that can be had in person. By incorporating the strengths of the internet to deliver vast amounts of information and visuals according to the wishes and interest of the user, the Met has created a user-definable venture that can hopefully serve to enlighten as well as enhance any physical trip to the museum.

As the presence of the internet in daily life continues to grow, so does the chance to use new technologies to augment traditional activities. History in particular is a discipline which can only benefit from the incorporation of new forms of media and new methods of disseminating knowledge. The use of the word accessibility by the Met is also a key one, as some of the greatest work in the historical field remains firmly in the domain of historians. The result is that brilliant insights and discoveries remain isolated from the public, which can perpetuate long standing misconceptions about what historians do and the importance of their work (in my experience, asking any freshman history survey course about this will provide sufficient insight into the problem.) Balancing accessibility with scholarship is a valid concern but simply because it is difficult does not mean it is impossible. As this web site was founded on the idea of enhancing historical studies through the use of the internet and technology, the Metropolitan Museum’s efforts are both welcome and worth watching.

The New York Times has a more thorough review of the Metropolitan Museum’s online effects. Read the article at :: New York Times and the Met Online

Check out the Met’s web site at ::

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