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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Picturebank: Images for Learning




Museum of London






Picturebank screenshotPicturebank screenshotThe Picturebank is a bank of images for schools and colleges to use to support students' learning. Teachers can use the Picturebank as a classroom teaching resource on an interactive whiteboard, choosing from a variety of different layouts - displaying or hiding the caption or suggested discussion question or showing the enlarged image on its own. Alternatively, teachers might use images to create their own resources/displays or students can use them in homework. All images have a clear statement explaining what users can do with the image and how to acknowledge copyright and only images that have been cleared for users to download, edit and use have been included. Users can browse the Picturebank by topic or by period, or can simply search by keyword.

Pocket Histories

The Picturebank is linked to and supported by a series of Pocket Histories (, short introductions to areas of London's History that use objects from the collection to tell their story. The Pocket Histories can be viewed as individual webpages or downloaded as  a PDF. The Pocket Histories add an extra layer of information to the images, allowing teachers and students to set the objects within the context of the stories they help to tell.


Teacher feedback has included:

  • An excellent resource. It is very useful with the open questions and would work brilliantly with a follow up session in the museum to make the artefacts come to life.
  • This is a fantastic resource for primary school children and below. Very clear images and creative open questions that could promote lots of discussion!

Automatic updates and easy additions

The Picturebank is linked to the Museum's collections database using the new Collections Information Integration Module which also powers the Museum's Collections Online facility ( The CIIM has enabled us to add project-specific data to core object information from the collections database, allowing for audience-specific titles, captions, discussion questions and other information particular to this resource. This system has two big advantages. Firstly, if core information is changed in the database as part of the Museum's routine collections management practices, for example a new image added, a location changed or an object removed, the Picturebank will automatically update.  Secondly, the CIIM makes it possible to add to and edit the Picturebank as and when the Museum needs to.

The Picturebank is a flexible and informative tool that enables schools and colleges to benefit from museum collections using an interface that is specifically tailord to their needs.

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