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Archiving the project Museums of Croatia on the Internet 1996-2008

MDC launched the project Museums of Croatia on the Internet (MHI in the Croatian version) in 1996. To date, 33 museum institutions have been presented under the aegis of the project, all told 50 museums, when their local collections and subsidiaries are included.
It was our ambition, through the systematic presentation of museums as a valuable and interesting part of the Croatian cultural heritage, to bring museums and the museum material closer to the public via a medium that has from the beginning of the project undergone such vigorous expansion and such enormous changes. This was in fact a pioneering undertaking at that time, when there were still very few museums in the world at large to have their own Web sites. It was the first step taken by Croatian museums out of their own physical spaces, many of which at that time had been damaged by the war, the material being placed in secure stores and thus made inaccessible. It was also the way to make the fastest and most effective use of the new information technologies in museums. The first steps in the digitalisation of the museum material, which is to say the cultural heritage as a whole and the creation of digital collections, were also closely tied to MHI. This move into the global virtual world contributed to museums being more open and communicative, and conversely its aim was to bring more real visitors into the museum.
From the very beginning the project was acknowledged as a new value. Prizes and recognitions received bear witness to this: the prize of the portal Internet Monitor for the best scenario and for the amount of content presented, for the quality of design and the importance for Croatian culture in 1998; there was also the CARNet Users Conference – CUC99 – recognition; and in 1999 the project was mentioned in the UNESCO publication World Culture Report 2000 as one of the 200 best cultural projects in the world for the new millennium.
The presentation of the first ten museums was supported by the Croatian Academic Network or CARNet; in 1999 a CD Rom was issued – Hrvatski muzeji 1/Croatian Museums 1, with twenty museum web sites from the MHI project.
The presentation of the museums was conceived as providing a guide through the museums, through their collections and their finest and most typical material. It is structured according to certain basic headings: general information, history of the museum collection, selected objects from the collections, museum activities, permanent display. We have done our best to include museums from all parts of Croatia, from those with heterogeneous collections that are significant for a given town or region, down to specialised museums related to a particular discipline or person.   From the very outset we insisted on presenting the contexts in several languages. Experts from MDC, numerous experts from all the museums represented, the firm Novena and other consultants all took part in the preparation of the material and creation of the site. The holdings of the museums and the MDC collection were used in the presentations, the material quite often being photographed precisely for the project. Accordingly, we would like to thank all our co-workers most heartily for their assistance, efforts and enthusiasm. During the past twelve years, we have endeavoured to keep up with changes in the museum activity, with the development of the technological capacities and designer approaches, and to pay heed to what the museums want. By working on the project, we too have learned, have developed, and the result is the current MDC Web site, in which, in various ways and shapes, contents originally presented as part of MHI are now accessible. Because of the obsolescence of certain technological approaches (particularly those on the early Web sites), and because of our wish to use our database about Croatian museums and to automate the updating of information, particularly under the headings General Information and Activities, we decided to archive the existing situation of the MHI project (February 20, 2008), as a document of the state of affairs in the museums presented at a given moment, of the ways of thinking about museums and the technological solutions. But the descriptions of collections and depictions of museum objects as well as the numerous permanent displays are still current and topical, can still be used as a worthwhile source of data.
Up-to-date information about all Croatian museums (general information) is to be found on the pages of Museums Survey [Survey of Museums] you can browse the activities of museums in the Calendar of Events; a review of publishing activity is accessible in the MDC Library Catalogue and Accessions Bibliography.

   
The Hvar Heritage Museum   Stjepan Gruber - Local History Museum   The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Glyptotheque, Zagreb
   
Križevci Municipal Museum   Gallery of Fine Arts, Split   Ivan Meštrović Foundation
   
Museum of Peasants' Uprising, Gornja Stubica   Moslavina Museum, Kutina   Rijeka Natural History Museum
   
Zagreb Municipal Museum   Makarska Municipal Museum   Gallery of Fine Arts, Osijek
   
The "Old Village" Museum, Kumrovec   Arcaheological Museum of Istria, Pula   Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb
   
Kaštela Municipal Museum, Kaštel Lukšić   Arcaheological Museum Split   Međimurje Regional Museum in Cakovec
   
Dubrovnik Museums, Dubrovnik   Split Municipal Museum   HT Museum - Croatian Post and Telecommunication Museum, Zagreb
   
The Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb   Antun Augustincic Gallery, Klanjec   Ethnographic Museum Zagreb
   
Technical Museum, Zagreb   Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb   Našice Local History Museum
   
Varaždin Municipal Museum   Virovitica Municipal Museum   Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, Split
   
Museum of Slavonija, Osijek   Karlovac Municipal Museum   Trakošćan Castle