This is an evaluation of the virtual museum web site of Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. In today’s world, tourism has been a major contributor to the growth and development of country’s economy. However, there is spurred expansion on the need of understanding of the historical events, developments and cultural and social changes in all corners of the world. In order to meet the rising historical interests and demand at the global level, individuals have adopted internet service technology. Websites development is one the widely used strategy in the delivery and dissemination of historical data and information. Though this makes it easy to learn and access information of the ancient time without having a physical visit to the heritage sites, some of the developed virtual heritage sites are rudimentary developed. Thus, certain factors in the development of a commercial web site such as those structured for offering learning information on a commercial basis is very crucial.
Structure of the web site
The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History web site is completely unique in its organization of the various features. It’s not surprisingly that entering into the home page, there is a medium sized logo place at the top left hand side, within which are inscriptions of 100 Years. Furthermore, there are several other pertinent and conspicuous features founds in the web site log. These comprises of a white star like figure and the words expressing the name of the institution. The background of the site is black in color, and below it, are enlisted titles in the title bar that includes information on visit or travel plan, exhibitions, learning materials, investigatory and collection, as well as an option for searching according to individuals need(s); and all these inscribed in whitish are embedded in a dark green background; more significant is not the color shades but the aim of expressing further information that can be revealed in the web site.
In this virtual museum website, it’s fascinating that within the medium sized widow page, the main products of the organization are placed to the left side. A number of products are being displayed in the website. This ranges from floral to faunal products, both small and large species found their different natural habitats. Through the glimpse of the animated products, one would learn more about evolution of several species such as the evolution of man from his queer primitive age, during which he appeared in a broaden head and monkey like looking forehead. Apart from the protruding forehead, one would also learn more of the changes that have occurred in the human snout, as well as the changes that have occurred in reptiles, insects and flight birds over the past centuries. The skeleton of the above living things are normally rotated within this web site together with the giant aquatic inhabitants like the whale and the sea fish. the often viewer would just find the recent item on the front page/ home page making it easy for them to access only those product which have been placed in the web site as new products(Smithsonian Institution, 2010).
Generally, the web site has got several title links for each of the subjects, with the topics/ titles being distinguished from other parts of the work through the use of different color shades as font sizes. The subjects which are explored in this web site are set or categorized into three or four major classes. The web site shows those exhibits/ products whose expiry dates is very near. Additionally, the virtual museum operations also demonstrate and unveil to the clients visiting the web site those products which are considered as novel products. Of the most important is the Yupik’s Exhibition which is temporary displayed showing several cultural tools and equipments that give us an insight of the scientific knowledge and understanding of the inhabitants living at pole regions of the earth. Overtly, there are several individuals clad in heavy clothes, who are undertaking different activities that contribute to economic development. In the site, it’s not rare to find several other products which are grouped in the permanent exhibits. These includes “The hope Diamond”, a product from India’s stone that dates 350 years back. Another significant permanent artifact in the web site is “The Sant Ocean Hall” which is rudimentary implementation. Finally, there are items which are pieced together for the study of biological science products. The highlighted items of these products normally include those historical natural biological products in their skeletal forms of the rare long and large fierce animals such like the dinosaurs. Moreover, historical buildings are also incorporated in this part of the web site display (Smithsonian Institution, 2010).
Part II: The Hope Diamond
In the artifact “the Hope Diamond” exhibition, one would expect to observe displays related to the mineral products of the early ages. To great surprise, there is one single display of whitish product at the top part of the web page, which apparently appears to be in a chain form. However, a number of other forms of Diamond artifacts are presented in the work which follows the first one. In the artifacts which are presented after the first one, they are distinctively different from the top in that there is an accompanying human figure next to it. The hope diamonds assumes a range of shapes ranging from the ring shaped to the polygonal shaped as well as that which appeared in the shape of a building. The changing shape together with the colors of the diamonds perhaps depicts the changing of times as well as the rulers of the various kingdoms from which the Diamond is represented(Patch, 1996).
The Ring shapes ring well expressed as ring should be worn on the neck. The blue ringed Hope Diamond was therefore used as regalia, worn by the King on special occasions of celebrations. The process of making such regalia might not have been an easy task, particularly when considering that complexity of the finished product. As revealed, the hope diamond is made of varying beads which made the process of making it become more complex. The drilling through the thick Gold block further made the work much more sophisticated as this demanded much time than its could have been with case in which a single block was to shaped into a polygonal block. Generally, the hope diamond is a legend associated with the curse culture of the Indian community. Thus, it may be considered ironical or otherwise a biased case to have the web site contents being relating this to individuals of kingly origins (Patch, 1996).
Part III: Reflection
According to my experience, I think the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History web site is one among the superior and standard developed web sites. I fell into this kind of judgment trap after considering a number of factors which constitutes a well developed web site. First And foremost, I found the web site home page well developed such that making it quite easy for the clients to have quick glimpse of the web site major purpose/ objectives. Also, it has well integrated color shade at its backgrounds which together with other and employs different fonts making the navigations from one part ease. Unlike most other web site, there is no opening of new window when one click the keywords or phrases that needs revealing of more information on a particular subjects within the content. This makes the clients to say within the web site of his/her interest, as well as getting the information without having distorted or deviated from his subject of interest. Taking into account the artifacts content relevancy, the collected material are perplexing although they act as reminders of the great historical event of several centuries of the past. With all this having been observed, there are still certain challenge that are apparent in the web site structure. Well noted is that on the title bar, the different titles are void of the drop down boxes. Usually, this induces certain difficulties in the search of the relevant information of the subject matter of the topic of interest.