Monday, February 8, 2010

Virtual Museum Tour, Volume 2


This past weekend I actually went to my first mouse races, but you'll have to wait for my second mouse races to get a blog about it. Since I forgot my camera, this week I bring you my second annual VIRTUAL MUSEUMS blog. Not everyone can afford to run a brick and mortar museum, but the vast intertubes are accessible to all. Here are my best Virtual Museum finds of 2010.

1. The Vincent Price Exhibit - One man's amazing collection of Vincent Price memoribilia. As you know, I am a huge fan, and if there's one virtual museum I wish was brick and mortar, it's this one.

2. The Cyber Toaster Museum - I'm a big fan of toast, but I'm still surprised at how much time I spent looking at toasters in this museum. From the earliest models that will make you flinch at the sight of so much exposed metal, to the "country kitchen" geese toaster of the 80s, this museum will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the history of the toaster.

3. Museum of Intergalactic Art - I grinned like the nerd I am when I read the opening sentence of the museum guide. "The original conception of the museum came about due to the enormous amount of interest that was shown in the archeological findings of Professor Benjamin Carlton Harred in 2976 A.D." This museum is brought to you from the year 3008 AD.

4. International Society of Talking Clock Collectors - Proving that if more than two of something exist, someone collects it. Flip through the galleries and click on a picture to play the clock sound. Some even have video! The "potpourri" category is my favorite, but there are unusual clocks in every group. Be sure to check out the talking Last Supper clock in the Religiously Themed category.

5. Patently Absurd Inventions Archive - OK, this is technically an archive, not a museum, but I had to include it once I saw the Baby Cage. These are all real inventions with real patents, and the links include the real patent illustrations. Some of them are hilarious, some are just scary.

6. The Virtual Egyptian Museum - I gravitate towards the weird, but you should know that there are plenty of serious virtual museums out there, and this is a fantastic example. The "About Us" page does a great job of explaining the benefits of online museums, and the collections are divided into "Full Visit" and "Highlights," which is really handy if you don't have all day to "tour." I especially like that each piece had detailed descriptions, because there is nothing worse than an interesting piece at a "real" museum with nothing but a title/artist card next to it. Also, the Virtual Egyptian Museum has as many as 66 pictures for some pieces, so you can see the most minute details without worrying about setting off an alarm.

The real challenge in compiling this annual entry is finding virtual museums that are not an assault to the eyeballs. There are plenty of weird museums online, it's just that most of them were made with Geocities in 1998 and abandoned. Also, I see TONS of fantastic ideas that are nothing but broken links today. So, Virtual Toilet Paper Museum, maybe if you get with the times (hint: 2010) you might be included next year! And if anyone wants to relaunch the Turn of the Century Electrotherapy Museum, you have my email address.

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