Museums and the Web

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

You are hereMW / Pathfinder


The Art Institute of Chicago
Slate Roof Studio and AvantLogic Corporation

Pathfinder - Map Zoom with Pathfinder Kiosk LocationThe Art Institute's Pathfinder site fills a niche not found on many museum websites by combining up-to-date collections, exhibition, and event information with a fully interactive floor plan and wayfinding system. Pathfinder is useful as a tool for planning a visit to the museum as well as allowing for virtual tours of the galleries.

Pathfinder - ExhibitionsYou can navigate Pathfinder using either the lightbox grid on the left side of the screen or the map on the right, depending on your needs and browsing style. The entire site is visually oriented, using images and icons to give visual cues and an intuitive experience.

Pathfinder - Accessible PathClicking on locations on the map highlights that space and brings up more information about its contents -- whether an exhibition space, gallery, restaurant, classroom, etc. You can then view a path to that location -- including an "accessible path" option that provides a route using elevators and ramps rather than stairs and escalators -- to help you plan your visit.

Artwork, exhibition, and event information is refreshed daily via xml feeds from back office systems so that the visitor always sees the most current information. In addition, artworks are linked to the Art Institute's collections website for people wishing to find more in-depth information.

Pathfinder - Panorama of Sunday on the La Grande Jatte galleryInteractive 360-degree panoramic views of dozens of galleries give you a feel for what you would see if you visited the museum in person.

Pathfinder - Collections in SpanishAll of the basic screen navigation content of Pathfinder can be translated into Spanish at the touch of a button.

Pathfinder has an onsite presence as well, in the form of six 32-inch touchscreen kiosks located throughout the museum. The web and kiosk versions complement each other and give visitors a familiar tool to use either at home or at the museum.

Pathfinder anticipates questions a potential visitor to the museum might have: What are the current special exhibitions? Where can I find the "greatest hits" of the Art Institute? How can I get to the restaurant? Where is the women's bathroom on this floor? What types of artwork will I see if I visit the Indian and Islamic Art galleries? How can I make an appointment with the Photography Study Room? These questions are answered in an innovative, unified, and interactive interface at

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