World of Benaki on DVD-ROM

Around three years ago, the Benaki Museum produced «The Greece of the Benaki Museum,» a large book that presented the entirety of the museum’s holdings and through them offered a broad overview of Greek history. Recently, the museum, in collaboration with Kastaniotis interactive publications, brought out the electronic version, not exactly of the same book, but more or less based on the same idea. The DVD-ROM publication, the first by a Greek museum, includes everything the Benaki Museum is about. It encompasses all of the museum’s contents and allows an interactive, visually rich and orally narrated tour of the museum. A large part of the DVD-ROM’s contents includes information on the life of the museum’s founder, Antonis Benakis. It also lists the museum’s donors and traces the history of the museum’s building and architecture. The second part views the museum’s holdings. Chronologically structured, it begins from prehistoric times, moving on to Ancient Greece, Roman, Byzantine and post-Byzantine times, continuing with the era when an independent Greek State emerged and then on to modern times. The holdings are also classified in categories of type of object, technique or material; what is interesting is how the user can use a combination of any of those criteria in order to download or locate any item. There is also the possibility of isolating and receiving detailed information on any of the 1,000 items presented. Also documented are the museum’s other departments: the Photographic Archive, the archives of Neohellenic architecture, the Hadzikyriakos-Ghika gallery, Islamic and Coptic art, Chinese ceramics as well as historical archives and manuscripts. There is also information on the museum’s services, its restoration department, educational programs and library. The DVD-ROM offers a contemporary way of visiting museums and helps expand a museum’s audience, therefore opening up new possibilities for our approach to and the accessibility of cultural institutions. It also helps reveal the richness of one of the country’s most prestigious museums.