Two Favorite Museums: Dumbarton Oaks and Getty Museums

These two museums are wonderful examples. The first for their diligent efforts to further scholarship and the second as an example of how user friendly a museum can be.


First, Dumbarton Oaks Museum is so much more than a museum. I love using their web site. Of their Byzantine Collection they say,

The Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection is one of the finest collections of artifacts from the Byzantine Empire. Spanning the imperial, ecclesiastical, and secular realms, the collection comprises more than twelve hundred objects from the fourth to the fifteenth centuries.

I would add that their publications are of great value to anyone who wishes to delve into the thinking of scholars of Byzantine and related studies. Be sure to explore their coin and seal collection.

Dumarton Oaks also offers manuscripts in digital form. Of the Manuscripts in the Byzantine Collection they say,

Illustrated manuscripts are not simply texts. Neither are they simply a series of images. They are objects which combine text and image into a visual and verbal tool with particular uses and behaviors. We experience books sequentially by turning the pages. We can only experience a real book as openings, and then only one opening at a time. These animated manuscripts allow you to page back and forth through these books as they were intended to be used, and as they were used for hundreds of years before arriving at the museum.

The Dumbarton Oaks search page for the collections is easy to use. Simply choosing from the icons or heading leads to this early Byzantine pendant or this one.


The J Paul Getty Museum is a delightful museum with a wonderful, easy to use search pattern. J Paul Getty Museum-Byzantine search and the example:Bead 9-10 century. I would love to see more museum web pages this easy to use.