Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Douglas Fairbanks Museum

Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) was one of the most popular silent film stars in the United States. His most famous films include Robin Hood, The Mark of Zorro, The Black Pirate and The Thief of Bagdad. The museum itself, which is operated out of Austin, TX, exists to "Our mission is to collect, preserve and interpret artifacts and archival materials relative to the life and work of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr." The intended audience is the general public, and anyone else interested in learning more about the life and works of this important historical figure. Holdings dating as far back as 1860 include photographs, artworks, movie posters, autographs, audiovisual materials, and periodicals.

The museum's website features include image gallerys, articles, a external blog, an information about previous exhibits. The site itself is written in what appears to be basic html, and does not feature any kind of internal search capabilities. There is no searchable metadata on the images. The images gallerys are directly linked to and presented as a series of pages with links to larger versions of the pictures. The pictures themselves are presented in .jpeg or .bmp form, are enlargable once, and are sometimes watermarked with the museum's name. The blog is reguarly and actively updated.

The operation of the website and the museum appear to be a labor of love and the curator's enthusiasm for the source material is clearly evident. Unfortunately, because there is no metadata included with the images, the website's utility as a research tool is harmed. There is an interesting and valuable collection here, but it would greatly benefit from some site redesign and the implementation of metadata.

No comments:

Post a Comment