Many of us have visited the
websites of various museums around the world. Many museums have such
websites, which exist on the Internet to give the viewer and potential
museum visitor information about the museum and its activities, a
preview of its exhibitions and more. Each museum website is unique in both
composition and design.
Not all museum websites, though, feature one or more floor plans, i.e. web pages
that give the viewer an idea of how the various floors of the museum are
laid out. The museum rooms are often color-coded, and each color may
represent a certain period in time or subject matter. These floor plans
then contain both floor maps and legends, i.e. what the various symbols or
colors represent, and together they form a floor plan. One may use these
maps to get an idea of what locations they may want to visit the next
time they are at the museum.
Sometimes within the floor map
itself there are links to other web pages within the museum's web site,
each of which
lead to a sampling or introduction to the content within the specified
area of their museum. They are not meant to give you an entire display of
what is in that room, for instance, as it is hoped that you will wish to
visit the museum and see all that is has to offer.
These are museums of "bricks
and mortar," so to speak. Their websites are not meant to substitute for
the "museum experience," i.e. an actual visit to the museum. Here, at the
Museum of Family History--which is virtual, i.e. an Internet-only
museum, there is no "bricks and mortar" museum to visit; all that is to be
presented to the public must be made available on its website and
accessible to all, because the
website is the museum. Admission is free and is open 24/7. You
don't even have to physically be at the museum to see its offerings, so
everyone around the world can be a "visitor".
What can be presented within
the limitations of cyberspace? Plenty. Besides the many exhibitions of
text and photographs, there is a great deal of multimedia effects, i.e.
short clips of audio and video. By its very nature, the virtual museum
is interactive, thus rather than physically walk through a "bricks and
mortar" museum, you may take a tour of this museum through the many clicks of
your computer mouse, as you please at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home
or workplace. Before your virtual tour of the Museum of Family History,
rev up your
imagination and think about how this museum would look if it was
actually made of "bricks and mortar" and existed in "real" space.
The Museum is composed of
three floors. The main floor is mostly composed of subject matter that has
to do with Jewish life in Eastern Europe and immigration. The second, or
middle floor, has to do with the "Yiddish World," e.g. Yiddish theatre,
literary works, life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, as well as other aspects of Jewish life. The upper floor has to
do mostly with life in the United States, though sprinkled among the three
floors are rooms containing various special exhibitions.
Lest I forget, there is a
fourth floor map, i.e. of the Museum's outdoor Music Pavilion. Here you
will have to imagine that you are seated out-of-doors in front of a music
pavilion watching live performances of various kinds. Presently, by
clicking on the "Stage Area" link, you may watch and listen to the
immortal Al Jolson, who in 1946, performed four songs as an audition for
the Jolson bio pic sequel "Jolson Sings Again." More choices will be added
in the future, e.g. klezmer music, Yiddish performances and more singing
Lastly, it should be noted that each of the floor plans are
works-in-progress, i.e. all the material on the museum site are not linked to the
maps and vice versa. Some of the links are still inactive. There is still
plenty to see and hear, so you might like to spend some time, perhaps a
day or more, at the Museum of Family History, which is dedicated to the
preservation of Jewish history, in many different ways.
Just click on the links below
for each of the four floor plans, open up your imagination, and enjoy!