Featured Museum Site
October, 1999North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
The North Carolina Museum of Art understands that people visit their website to find specific information or to learn about the art in their collections, not to experience state-of-the-art web design tricks.
The display of the art is remarkable. The thumbnail images in each section are as large as the full-size reproductions that you find on some other museum sites. Then you can choose between a small-, medium- or large-sized full image. The large images are probably the biggest on any museum site anywhere - they run anywhere from 250K to over a megabyte in file size, and display at way over 1000 pixels in their longest dimension. And the quality of the scans justifies displaying the images at this size.
I never thought I would say this, but there's almost too much here. Three different image sizes is overkill, and I suspect you could cut the file sizes in half by boosting the JPEG image compression slightly, with no important loss of image quality. But you've got to take your hat off to them for giving this much.
One important problem I noticed is that the thumbnail pages take a long time to load, even with a cable modem. Heaven knows how long it would take with a 28.8 modem. If the NCMOA were to include HEIGHT and WIDTH information in the image tags, the page format and text would be displayed immediately (while the images will still take their sweet time). This is one of the most important rules of web design.
The collections area gets very high marks, but there is more genuinely interesting stuff to be found. A kids' puzzles section has some well-design activities, which were certainly capable of holding my interest. They require Shockwave, though, and one activity can only be used on a Macintosh.
There is also a great section designed by the conservation department, giving advice on the conservation of works of art. If you own valuable furniture or works of art, you should definitely visit and print out the advice presented here for permanent reference.
Overall, this is a site well worth visiting and revisiting.
The North Carolina Museum of Art
|Previous Featured Museums|
|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|