Internet Lectures Research:

Broadening the Audience for Live Slide Show Presentations


Benefits of Web lectures
Scope of opportunity
TFAO financial assistance
Other multimedia projects
For further study
Responses to inquiries


Scope of opportunity:



TFAO counted Resource Library's volume of exhibition-related articles from May 31, 2003 to June 1, 2004. There were 555 separate exhibits covered in that one year period accompanied by a roughly estimated 670 lectures. Of these 670 estimated lectures, TFAO's research indicates that there were no online versions of the lectures produced during the study time period. [3]

Prior to May 2003, however, there were several Web lectures created. Examples are listed below.



The Peacock Room from the Smithsonian Institution. (The Freer Gallery's Peacock Room is where James McNeill Whistler transformed his patron's dining room into a landmark of interior design) According to John Gordy, Head of Digital Media, Smithsonian Institution Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, the content for the online presentation came from a book by the former American art curator, Linda Merell titled "The Peacock Room: A Cultural Biography." The original interactive was created in the Digital Media department of the Gallery and the audio slide tour was prepared by Marc Bretzfelder in the central Smithsonian web office.
Winslow Homer's Right and Left from the National Gallery of Art is a narrated show interpreting one painting. Narration is by Nicolai Cikovsky Jr., senior curator of American and British paintings. A transcript is included in the presentation. (Real Networks RealPlayer).
American Museum of Natural History's 5-minute narrated slide presentation Introduction to the American Museum Congo Expedition 1909-1915. The content and narrative texts were produced by a team of AMNH Digital Library staff and a contract writer. The Flash presentation on the Congo site was produced by Seth Kaufman of The Digital Library of the AMNH is located at 81st St. @ Central Park West, New York, NY 10024. (212) 769-5400
The Quest for Immortality from the National Gallery of Art The exhibition was shown at the National Gallery of Art from June 30 through October 12, 2002. (Real Networks RealPlayer).
Cleopatra: A Multimedia Guide to the Ancient World from the Art Institute of Chicago. According to the Art Institute of Chicago's web site it "was adapted from a kiosk-based program installed adjacent to (the) Ancient Art galleries in March, 1997" in 2000. The Imaging Department of the Art Institute designed and created the site, along with the original kiosk (which is on display in the museum). The content was created by various curators at the museum. (QuickTime)
A Museum of Modern Art web site titled Conversations with Contemporary Artists contains "... audio and text excerpts of three artists' conversations, along with images of the artists' work and the works from the collection they discussed. The aim of this project is to enable visitors to experience and gain a deeper understanding of contemporary artists and their work." The online conversations include audio, images and transcripts of conversations by three artists. (Shockwave) In 2004, MOMA created a web site for a new building project. The web site contains a ten minute, six clip virtual tour "video" of the new Museum of Modern Art, narrated by Steve Martin, in the form of a narrated slide show. (QuickTime)
Smithsonian Institution's Smithsonian Welcome Brochure is a slide illustrated 37 minute audio tour of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC and New York City. The Online Audio page describing the brochure says "Each segment is also available as a downloadable MP3 file for playback on MP3 devices or for burning to Audio CD.
The West Bend Art Museum placed on its website samples of an audio tour which may be likened to a virtual docent presentation. (Real Networks RealPlayer).
According to SUNY Brockport the National Museum of Women in the Arts created in 1997 a video tour narrated by Wilhelmina Cole Holladay. The SUNY web site says "Created in 1997 in celebration of the Museum's tenth anniversary, the Website of the National Museum of Women in the Arts currently features a video tour. Narrated by Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, whose collection of art by women forms the foundation of the Museum's permanent collection, the tour is conveniently divided into 21 sections, so that users can select only those they wish to view (approximate download times are one to five minutes per clip). Ms. Holladay provides anecdotes about each work." The video tour is no longer on the NMWA web site.
Ansel Adams from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which includes a seven-slide narated slide show. (Macromedia Flash and QuickTime)



AARP created Interactive Home Tours in the form of narrated slide shows.(RealVideo)
Archiving Early America presents narrated slide shows in "film" format. (Macromedia Flash)
Arizona State University Institute of Human Origins developed Becoming Human. The web site won a "Webby" award in 2002. It contains an "interactive documentary experience" including five narrated slide shows. The site was produced by Terra Incognita Interactive Media in association with NeonSky Creative Media. It receives about 30,000 accesses per month. The site's credits page names the individuals involved with creating the site and their individual roles. For contact with the Institute write to (Macromedia Flash)
Bucknell University's admissions department offers high bandwidth and low bandwidth tours. The 15 minute high bandwidth tour is a 24 segment slide show. Each segment features a separate aspect of the University and contains a static photo of a student next to changing slides picturing the topic. The figure and the slides are overlaid on a moving map of the campus. The geographic focus of each segment on the map is magnified as the segment begins. (Macromedia Flash)
Harvard University offers a virtual tour web site. The QTVR section start page contains a campus map and three drop-down menus. Clicking on a building selects an individual tour. By clicking on "Fogg Art Museum" the site visitor sees a 360 degree panoramic photo of the central Courtyard of the Fogg Art Museum (QuickTime 3) with accompanying selections for "General Information," "Slide Show: Fogg Artwork." and "Movie: Unique Resources." By selecting the movie, a 2 1/3 minute narrated slide show begins. (RealPlayer) The artwork slide show is not narrated and features ten objects from the collection.
Los Angeles Times online edition has narrated slide shows in its online multimedia section. Go to to the "Multimedia section" and view slide shows such as "Afghanistan: Country at a Crossroads" (Flash), See No Evil: Disease in California's Porn Industry (Macromedia Flash)
New York Times online edition has a multimedia section with a "Multimedia Search" feature. Under the heading "Recommended Searches," clicking on "Audio Slide Show" provides links (as of October 24, 2004) to over 390 audio slide shows indexed in reverse chronological order. John Elderfield, curator of painting and sculptures at MOMA, in an October 3, 2004 narrated presentation, "introduces the public to the newly renovated Museum of Modern Art in New York, set to reopen on Nov. 20." In an August 27, 2004 feature titled "Art and Politics at Convention Time," Roberta Smith takes a survey of "current work inspired by President Bush and his party." An August 1, 2004 feature titled "Habitats: The Art of the Lure" features artist Lisa Kravacka. A July 30, 2004 feature "Lazarus Returns: The Art of Lee Bontecou" is narrated by Michael Kimmelman, chief art critic of the New York Times.
Photography Channel presents a series of slide shows. (QuickTime)
Washington University in St. Louis developed a Graduate Online Lecture Project. Click on "to the lectures," then "Humanities," then "Art History," then "Mike Murphy - Art History - A Double Vision: Stereoscopy, Urban Modernity and Childe Hassam's 'Rainy Day, Boston' " (2002) The site contains another art history lecture by Felicia Else titled Territorial Currents: Waterways and River Gods, (2001) on water-related imagery in 16th century Florence. These lectures are components of doctoral dissertations by the lecturers. (Macromedia Flash)
Civil War and the 19th Century from the Wisconsin Veteran's Museum is a narrated slide show with eleven 30 second to 1 1/2 minute segments with transcript of the audio underneath each image. The presentation is available in Windows Media and QuickTime formats.
The White House web site contains slide show tours of six rooms, each between 1 1/3 to 1/ 1/2 minutes, narrated by White House Curator William Allman. (RealPlayer)



While the main focus of this study is Web lectures, there are other opportunities for the use of illustrated audio. See other creative ways to use illustrated audio.


rev. 11/16/04

3. The method used to identify online narrative lectures was to review Web sites of likely museum sources backed up by numerous Google searches employing a variety of relevant keywords. The original survey was conducted in August, 2004. Since that time TFAO has continuously searched for examples of Web lectures from museums within the May 31, 2003 to June 1, 2004 time period. TFAO estimates that the frequency distribution of related live, in-person, lectures is:

When examples are found the survey results will be amended. Also, TFAO is continuously searching the Web for narrated slide shows from other sources.

The above links, names and addresses are provided only as referrals for your further study and consideration. Please use due diligence in employing referenced consultants or vendors. Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc. takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information from the named organizations or firms which may be inaccurate or out of date. Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc neither recommends or endorses the above referenced organizations.

Copyright 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.