Monday, February 16, 2009

National Museum of Poznan hosts several photo galleries of paintings in their collection. Because the museum is made up of several branches, the images on this site represent only a sample of their entire holdings. The gallery works well for a museum page as it gives readers an idea of the kinds of work in their collection. As one of the oldest cities in Poland, the museum's collection is one of the most important in the country.

The museum has divided the images into collections based on time period and form (Gallery of Antique Art, Gallery of Medieval Art, Gallery of Polish Art 16th-18th Centuries, Gallery of Polish Art 18th-20th Centuries, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Gallery of Foreign Painting, Print Room, Gallery of Poster and Design). Each collection features 5 to 25 images which have been chosen as representative of these genres.

In many ways, this is a nice way for a museum to showcase their exhibits without allowing people to see everything they own. They also do a nice job of explaining the background of each collection and some of the themes you will see in each category. The display itself could be better. When you click on an image to see a larger version you are only given the title of the work and the artist. You may find more information about a painting in their description of the collection but for the most part you are only given those two pieces of metadata. The images open in a pop-out window which allows you to see them more clearly but you are not given the ability to scroll through the images or click a next button to progress through the images.

It's an interesting way for museums to show a selection of their collection in order to educate the public and hopefully to lure patrons in to see the rest of the museum. The images could certainly benefit from more metadata and a more user-friendly interface but it is a nice start to a digital collection.

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