Benchmarking - Mapping in museums

This page contains some examples on mapping on museum's websites, as well as other issues that can be related. It includes both spatial and conceptual mapping and spectrum between them.

The Detroit Institute of Arts

My Collections
My DIA Collections allows user to bring together all his favorite masterpieces with just a few clicks.

Create a new collection

While browsing the DIA's online collection, he can click "Save to My DIA" in the preview screen for any piece of artwork. He can add as many pieces of art as he likes, and create multiple collections.

The user can print his collection and use it to plan his next visit or even share his Collection with a friend by clicking "Email" next to the item of his choice in the list of My DIA Collections.

My Calendar
The My DIA Calendar allows user to keep track of the upcoming events, classes and exhibitions that interest him most.

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Users can send their comments about a piece.

IMA Tags
Allows user to access IMA collection through tags contributed by IMA visitors. User can also view works of art, and add his own tags to IMA tag cloud.

Massachussets Museum of Contemporary Arts - Mass Moca

Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective
User can visit Sol LeWitt works selecting one of these three options:

View by grid

View by floorplan

View timelapse
Allows user to observe the whole process of development of a Wall Drawing, either in sequential order (playing the video) or controlling a scrollable timeline.

McCord Museum

On Line Collections
Allows user to access to an amazing collection of 135,000 artifacts that are reflections of the social history and material culture of Montreal, Quebec and Canada. Almost 117,000 artifacts held by the McCord and some 17,500 artifacts held by the partner museums are available for viewing.

This section's main page contains a list of available collections, with the number of artifacts that each of them contains, and how many are on-line.

Concept network
Interactive concept network that allows user to explore 95,000 documents, and visualize relationships between artifacts.

My McCord
Is a complete section that enables users to:

  • Select and organize their favorite images from the collection
  • Comment on them
  • Describe them
  • Tag their images
  • Compare them to their own photographs (with the "pairs of images" option)

Order a photographic reproduction (300 dpi (8 x 10 in.) digital file

User needs a "My McCord" account.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

Interactive 3d floorplan. There is a menu that contains a list of features available on every floor. When user clicks on it, he can see each issue location, and its related images.

Floorplan of the section of the museum that allocates pieces of the selected gender.  User can see where each piece is (and link to piece's page), and select a subsection.

User comments
All website pages contain user comments. User can send a comment, read other visitor's comment, or view a list of comments available.

User can also deactivate / activate comments visualization.

Musée d'Orsay

Interactive floor plans.
User can zoom in a floor plan. When he clicks on a room, a list of its pieces is displayed. This interactive list contains some options:
*A link to each piece's card
*Add to your album (a list of preferred pieces)
*Add to your trail (a list of pieces to see at the visit; see Visit planning for more information)

Searching the gallery
User can search a piece and view its location.

With Discovery, user can click on one of the images, which will bring up a selection of works by the same artist, or works produced in the same year, on a similar theme or relating to the same art movement. User can navigate from image to image for new visual encounters, and to access the explanatory texts.

User can zoom on the picture, see its dimensions, or go to its information page.

Add to your trail

Starting from the map of the museum or index of works, user can plan your next visit by clicking on the icon "Add to your trail" under each picture in the list of search results if the work is on display.

At any time, user can check the list of the works he has chosen below, and when he's happy with his selection print the map and the list of works by clicking on "print" on the right of the screen.  

My selection
User's personal space, which contains everything he needs to:

  • put together his personal album
  • memorize the searches he has made in the index of works
  • plan his visit
  • download wallpapers,
    (among others things)

Museo del Prado

Temporal line collection
Interactive timeline with artistic movements and its more significant works available in the museum.

Science Museum

This museum has developed a special website named "Making the modern world" ( contains information about the objects contained in the museum from 1800. User can access to each artifact card by means of different paths:

Interactive timeline. User can click on any step in the timeline so its information expands. Related material section (see for instance: at the bottom of the page) drives to the object specific card that also contains, again, a related material section.

Icons of invention ( , Everyday Life ( and Learning Modules (
These three sections let user browse objects by categories.

Guided Tours
Information about artifacts is ordered following a narrative discourse. User can go into information in depth until reach a specific artifact card.

Hermitage museum

Pages with information about an artwork contain the option to search similar artwork in the digital collection. User can choose what kind of similarity interests him:

  • The same artist
  • The same country/region
  • The same technique
  • The same genre
  • A similar visual layout

Victoria & Albert Museum
Interactive Global Baroque. Lets user find baroque images from around the world, by means of a GoogleMap.

User can also add his own images to share.  

More references:

Visible past project

Visible Past is a cross platform, scalable research and learning environment. Its primary aim is to help students and scholars to experience and communicate with fully immersive, historically accurate models of past geographic realities or to relate information to specific real geographic locations. It also includes a social networking utility and content rating/review facilities. If fully immersive models are used, these can be visualized and interacted with in a number of settings: virtual reality theaters, webpages or geographic exploration interfaces such as Google Earth or NASA Worldwind.
Clients to the information will all very generally work in the same way: as a user moves through space (virtual, real, mapped), information tied to llocations on the earth will be revealed to them as they approach those llocations. Once revealed, the information can be edited and resubmitted (to greater or lesser richness depending on the client), consumed, or ignored.


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