Title:Representing Asia: Building a Web Site for the Musée Guimet, Paris
Authors:Mark Carlson
Publication:MW2002: Museums and the Web 2002

On January 15, 2001, the National Museum of Asian Arts - Guimet in Paris reopened after an extensive renovation project. The museum's first real web site accompanied this reopening and went online, not coincidentally, on the same day. The renovated museum was dramatically different from the one that had closed its doors nearly five years before, and the web site was designed to be a reflection of the "new" Musée Guimet. This paper will examine the experience of designing and building the web site, in particular, the cultural and political issues involved in representing a European museum which contains one of the world's largest collections of Asian art. Designing an appropriate site meant paying attention to design and content issues, and their possible impact on Asian visitors. As the vision and goals of the museum's director were brought to life, a number of factors played a role, such as the potential audiences of the site, geo-political concerns, and France's relationship to and presence in Southeast and East Asia.