CULTURE

Greek museums slowly catching on to opportunities offered by the Internet

The National Museum of Contemporary Art blog is celebrating its first birthday. The Benaki Museum has become fluent in Spanish, the Museum of Cycladic Art has gone on Facebook and the National Gallery has redesigned its website. As more organizations get active on the Internet, museums have jumped at the opportunity as well. Well-known museums but also some of the smaller ones abroad even offer digital exhibitions especially curated for the Internet and brimming with lots of detailed information. Greece, with its rich museum and cultural history, had initially made a slow start but has come a long way in just a few years. Some local museums’ webpages are exemplary, while others, like the National Archaeological Museum, have yet to design their own website. The National Gallery inaugurated its new website this summer, with information now available in Greek, English, French and German and a detailed archive of Greek and foreign artists. Despite the delay, this was a pleasant surprise. Two things are missing, however: There is no information about the current Goya exhibition and an e-mail contact should be made available, instead of providing the venue’s fax number. Other museums started using the Internet early on. The Benaki Museum website, active for at least seven years, recently added information in the Spanish language as well as an online catalog of its library and digital photography archives. In Thessaloniki, the Photography Museum has a very user-friendly archive, of great value to students and researchers, with a detailed program of all exhibitions of the past eight years, including the accompanying photographs. Also in Thessaloniki, the State Museum of Contemporary Art has laid emphasis on communication and provides links to various local art websites. Back in Athens, the Byzantine and Christian Museum as well as the Museum of Cycladic Art have proven that the Internet is useful in areas other than just contemporary art. The former has maintained a blog detailing the progress of its current exhibition. Although the blog was more about the feelings of those involved instead of the ideas behind the display, it was an important initiative. The latter offers a digital tour of its collections in Greek and English, while this year’s volunteers created a museum profile on Facebook to attract younger people. The National Museum of Contemporary Art blog, titled Fixit, follows the former Fix factory’s restoration step by step. Museum director Anna Kafetsi explained that the blog «was a good excuse to open a discussion on contemporary art, architecture and museology with texts written by the museum staff and friends.» The «friends» include interesting personalities from the arts as well as journalists.