The UK’s 24 Hour
Museum, the first cyberspace venture to get government recognition as a national
museum, has survived an onslaught of visitors during its first 24
hours online. However, the launch has not been entirely without problems.
“The ‘wrinkles’ are still being ironed out,” admitted Jennie Bond of
the Campaign for Museums, to uk.internet.com.
Officially launched by Culture Secretary Chris Smith on May 13, the
24 Hour Museum compares itself to the other 12 institutions that
are designated as “national collections.” They include the British
Museum, the National Gallery and the Natural History Museum.
the other institutions are home to the Elgin Marbles, works by
Leonardo da Vinci, and the first fossils ever discovered, the 24 Hour
Museum is a Web site. Clearly, it has a long way to go to catch up
with the others.
“The 24 Hour Museum is a giant step forward in
improving both virtual and physical access to our museums’ collections.
As it develops, it will swiftly become a cyber treasure house of all
that our museums and galleries have to offer,” said Smith.
The Campaign for Museums is chaired by Loyd Grossman, best-known
as host of a TV cookery show. At the launch he promised that the
museum would expand and contain “more and better information” every
day. In fact, he said, it will “swiftly become the one-stop shop
for news and information for the public.”
The 24 Hour Museum has received a start-up grant from the UK
Government of £70,000 ($112,000) and will get up to £55,000
($88,000) this year for maintenance. It plans to link to 300 galleries
and Web sites and carry information about all of the UK’s 2,000 museums and