Compiled by Bryan McMullin
What follows is a random assortment of art and antiques related websites that we have visited and enjoyed in the last few weeks. Your discoveries and suggestions are always welcome.
For those of you interested in architecture, "The Great Buildings Collection" is an amazing resource of information and images relating to architecture of all eras and styles. The site itself is quite straightforward and very well designed, allowing visitors to search in a variety of classifications. You can look for information on a specific building, searching for it by name (a search for "Guggenheim Museum" for example, brings up both the Frank Lloyd Wright design in New York and the new Frank Gehry Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain), or you can look for the work of a specific architect to see a selection of their works.
Probably of greatest interest for collectors would be the search option that focuses on a particular type of building, which further breaks down the classification into either the intended purpose of the building or, more particularly, the building style. This option allows visitors the chance to view a number of stylistically related buildings.
For those who travel, the option to search for buildings by location might come in handy, and for the merely curious the "Greatest Hits" option lists the twenty most viewed buildings or the twenty most searched for architects.
There is something about Dr. Seuss books and collectibles that seems perfectly suited to the visually oriented nature of the web. This site, one of many dedicated to the Dr. Seuss characters and their related collectibles, takes full advantage of these graphic and animated characters. The site opens with an option for either standard HTML or Flash plug-in site (which is not functioning as of press time) and then goes on to an image of the cat in the hat, which serves as your directory to the site as you move your cursor around over the image.
While the site design is excellent, there is collecting content here as well. The amazing assortment of Seuss collectibles is organized by maker, and left me feeling as though I had a very deprived childhood, as I don’t recall having ever had any of them, but it actually probably has more to do with the fact that I was interested in Dr. Seuss before everything became fodder for merchandising.
There are a number of other sections in this site including one of Seuss related news including information about the new Grinch movie, and a section that offers other collectors a place to show off their personal collections. A narrowly focused site to be sure, but worth a visit just to check out the design of the site itself.
This is certainly among the more unusual personal sites we have come across. It is divided into two parts, the first being "Tick Tock Toys" which focuses on the toys and related ephemera, which have their origin in the food business.
Cereal and other child oriented food packaging and premiums seem to be the primary focus of this on-line collection, but there are aliens, monsters, Disney and other "theme park" related materials as well. Not lots of information regarding these items but a very unusual collection of stuff.
The second portion of the site is a work in progress, the Internet’s first on-line theme park "The Imaginary World Project" from which the site gets its name. Not exactly a useful or educational spot on the web, but hey, you gotta have just plain fun sometimes…
This is the site of The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, the decorative arts division of the Smithsonian. They have been consistently at the forefront in the rediscovery of the decorative arts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as paying attention to contemporary design, and it should come as no surprise that their website utilizes some of the latest web technology. The site makes extensive and effective use of Macromedia’s "Flash" technology making the site interactive and very visually impressive.
The current exhibits featured on the site focus on modern furniture and textile designs and are quite informative, but visitors can also access material pertaining to previous exhibits, and a featured objects section offers images and quite detailed information on a broad variety of decorative objects.
Definitely a site worth visiting for the technology alone (the required flash plug-in takes only minutes to install or up-date).