November 2009

Upon visiting the Norton Simon Museum’s web page at; viewers are greeted with various photographs taken inside and outside of the museum walls. The main page also highlights the following categories: Exhibitions on View, Future Exhibitions, Featured Events, For Families, Announcements, In Store Now and Visits. The information is presented in a very simple manner and it is everything a person going to visit the museum would want and/or need to know before their arrival. Along the top of the page, are tabs that will take you further in depth to the museum’s collections, exhibits, visitation hours, etc.

If you want to take a closer look at the collections in the museum, scroll over the Collections tab at the top and all the categories will pop up. After clicking on a particular category a synopsis of the collection will show up. It tells where the piece is from, what period it was derived in, as well as highlighting various pieces that stand out. Below the synopsis are pictures that you can either scroll over with your mouse to enlarge, or click on. If you find a sculpture, photo, or painting you are interested in I would click on that picture. In doing so, you will be brought to a page that enlarges the picture and gives detailed information. The best part is at the bottom of the page, you can click Play to hear what is said about this particular piece on the museum’s audio tour! If you are writing a paper for class and can't physically make it to the museum, this web site does its best to bring the museum’s collections into your home.

In addition to the convenience of audio tours of the collection, there is further multimedia to explore on the Norton Simon website. Various podcasts are available and allow online visitors to hear details of certain pieces as well as conversations with curators, scholars and artists (if they are living). As I mentioned before there are also audio tours. Under the Multimedia tab, on the home page, you can access the index to be able to search for a particular piece of your interest. Lastly, you are able to view videos of restorations, lectures, and interviews. You can view the videos in small, medium or large format with the QuickTime media software, which is available for a free download.

The Norton Simon Museum provides a wonderful and easy to navigate website; full of information and visual displays of their collections and exhibits. If you are at home or at school this is a wonderful website to visit to get information on various artists and pieces. However, even though the website offers bundles of useful information, it is very worthwhile to go and physically visit the museum itself. It is located in Pasadena, near downtown. Not only are there wonderful pieces inside, there are great sculptures located on all sides of the museum as well as in their garden area where you can also enjoy a nice lunch in this serene environment. If driving to the museum doesn't fit into your schedule, make sure to visit the website and take advantage of all the information given to you via various forms of multimedia!

Reviewer: Valerie Muscarella, FIDM Library Staff Member, O.C.