Featured Museum Site
November, 1999Musée du Louvre, Paris
The Louvre is one of the great museums of the world, and has probably been visited by more people than any other. It's good to see that it has a web site worth visiting as well.
I like to start with what a site does well, and the Louvre does a lot of things well. They have excellent scans of the artwork, and in most cases you can click through to a very large detail image. There is a lot of work online - at least a couple of hundred pieces. It's multilingual, being available in English, French, Spanish and Japanese (some sections, especially those requiring regular updates, are only available in French though). There is valuable interpretive text for almost all the artworks. From a North American point of view the site is fast and reliable, which is often not the case with European websites. And visually the site is very well designed.
That's a lot to do well. But there are a couple of things which could be better.
One is the overall site navigation. I can't find any kind of site map or search facility. To get to any of the actual art in the collections, you have to drill down 6 levels, which is kind of a lot, and not all the choices are obvious. Good luck if you're looking for one artist or work in particular.
Say you're looking for something by Van Dyck. Here's what you have to do from the home page:
One other issue is that the Louvre site uses frames. There are large frames along the top and the left side, which take up a lot of screen space. If you click through to the detailed view of one of those lovingly reproduced masterpieces, those frames will very likely cause you to have to scroll to see the full image. Not every surfer knows that there are ways to work around this:
Musée du Louvre, Paris
|Previous Featured Museums|
|October, 1999:||The North Carolina Museum of Art|
|September, 1999:||The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio|
|August, 1999:||National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole, Wyoming|
|July, 1999:||Museum of Modern Art, New York|
|June, 1999:||Carol Gerten's Fine Art|
|May, 1999:||National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.|
|April, 1999:||Fine Arts Museums Of San Francisco|
|March, 1999:||The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam|
|February, 1999:||The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia|