The Metropolitan Museum of Art
There is much quality material for students, educators, and enthusiasts at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art web site. Start with the Metropolitan Museum of Art Timeline of Art History, a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world. Each timeline page includes representative art from the Museum’s collection, a chart of time periods, a map of the region, an overview, and a list of key events. The timelines, accompanied by world, regional, and sub-regional maps, provide a linear outline of art history, and allow visitors to compare and contrast art from around the globe at any time in history. There is plenty more here apart from the Timeline: “Just for Fun” has interactive activities for kids, “A Closer Look” examines the “hows and whys” behind Met objects, “Artist” enables visitors to access biographical materials on a selection of artists as well as general information about their work, and “Themes and Cultures” presents past and present cultures with special features on the Met’s collections and exhibitions. Sections of interest in Ancient History include Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus, Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids, The New Greek Galleries, The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, Genesis: Ideas of Origin in African Sculpture, In the Footsteps of Marco Polo: A Journey through the Met to the Land of the Great Khan, and The Glory of Byzantium.
The British Museum
The British Museum was founded in 1753 to promote universal understanding through the arts, natural history and science in a public museum. Its various online offerings are impressive. TheWorld Cultures website highlights achievements of some remarkable world civilizations and explores cross-cultural themes of human development. It features interactive multimedia resources, historical reconstructions and 3D animations and atttracts millions of visitors each year.
BBC: Ancient History
BBC’s History section offers an impressive array of exhibitions, activities, games, photo galleries, and other resources. The BBC Ancient History section focuses on Anglo-Saxons, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Vikings. Among the special attractions are examples of Roman art found in Britain, planning your own Viking raid, and discovering treasures from the ‘cradle of civilization.’ Take some time to explore more of the BBC History offerings. There are engaging sections entitled Multimedia Room, Historic Figures, Timelines, Programmes, Reading Room, Talk History, For Kids, and History Trails. Aimed at upper elementary and lower secondary students.
Mark Millmore’s Ancient Egypt
Mark Millmore’s fun and educational site is comprehensive, updated daily, and features several great sections. Major sections include Hieroglyphs, Numbers and Egyptian Maths, Pyramids and Temples, Kings & Queens, Rebuilding Ancient Egyptian Temples in 3D, Ancient Egyptian Videos and Documentaries, The Discovering Egypt Newsletter, and Ancient Egyptian Quizzes. The Hieroglyphics section contains Ancient Egyptian Mathematics Problems to see if you could “survive” in the world of Egyptian numerals and mathematics and a chance to play the ancient game of Senet. The Pyramids and Temples section is a virtual tour featuring plenty of great pictures of the temples at Karnak, Luxor, Dendara, Philae, and Ramses II. The Kings and Queens section is more essay format, but again features excellent images. Hatshepsut (“The Woman who was King”), Thutmose III (“The Napoleon of Ancient Egypt”) and and Ramses II (“The Last Great Pharaoh”) figure prominently in this section. Embedded YouTube video and 3D multimedia play a key role at the site, especially in the engaging Rebuilding Ancient Temples exposition and the Ancient Videos section. keep up-to-date on Ancient Egypt news and website updates via Mark’s bi-monthly newsletter and take your hand at some of his quizzes. Finally, the site has a Discovering Ancient Egypt shop where you can game and educational software, books, posters, art prints and photos with an ancient Egyptian theme.
Ancient History: Egyptians
This is an impressive introduction to Ancient Egypt aimed at students from BBC. Major categories include Pyramids and Monuments, Mummification, Gods and Beliefs, Pharaohs and Dynasties, Daily Life, Hieroglyphs, a Timeline, and Related Links. Highlights from The Pyramids and Monuments section include an image gallery of the “top ten” Ancient Egypt sites, and an interactive diagram of Khufu’s Pyramid complex. The Mummification section features an animated “Mummy Maker” embalming game, and The Gods and Beliefs contains a photo gallery of both Egyptian sacred animals and the ‘Death in Sakkara’ game. The Pharaohs and Dynasties contains various essays, including a discussion of Hatshepsut, Ramses II, and photo gallery of Tutankhamun tomb and great dynasties. Special features include an Ancient Egypt Timeline and the animated games Death in Sakkara: An Egyptian Adventure. A nice mix of essays, images, and active-learning multimedia.
Perseus Project is an impressive digital library for Greek and Classical resources from the Classics Department at Tufts University for primary and secondary source scholarly works that cover the history, literature and culture of the Greco-Roman world. The collection contains extensive and diverse resources including primary and secondary texts, site plans, digital images, and maps. Works are listed by author and you can browse the Greco-Roman Collection or use the search engine. Art and archaeology catalogs document a wide range of objects: vases, sculptures and sculptural groups, coins, buildings and gems. The site also has FAQs, essays, a historical overview, and an extensive library of art objects, and other resources. Special exhibits include The Ancient Olympics and Hercules. Site is updated regularly.
Turning the Pages
Turning the Pages is an award-winning interactive display system developed by The British Library to increase public access and enjoyment of some of its most valuable treasures. Visitors are able to virtually “turn” the pages of manuscripts in a realistic way, using touch-screen technology and animation. There are currently fifteen treasures on display in Turning the Pages including: the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Diamond Sutra, the Sforza Hours, the Leonardo Notebook, the Golden Haggadah, the Luttrell Psalter, Blackwell’s Herbal, the Sherborne Missal, and Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an.
The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame
The Sport of Life and Death was voted Best Overall Site for 2002 by Museums and the Web and has won a slew of other web awards. The site is based on a traveling exhibition and bills itself as “an online journey into the ancient spectacle of athletes and gods.” The Sport of Life and Death features dazzling special effects courtesy of Macromedia Flash technology and its overall layout and organization are superb. Not just stylish, the site’s content is excellent and engaging as well. For instance, there are helpful interactive maps, timelines, and samples of artwork in the Explore the Mesoamerican World section. The focus of the site, however, is the Mesoamerican ballgame, the oldest organized sport in history. The sport is explained through a beautiful and engaging combination of images, text, expert commentary, and video. Visitors can even compete in a contest! A must see for Middle School or 9th-grade World History teachers.
Internet Ancient History Sourcebook
The Internet History Sourcebooks are wonderful collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts for educational use by Paul Halsall of Fordham University. The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook contains hundreds of well-organized sources; the main sections are Human Origins, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Israel, Greece, Hellenistic World, Rome, Late Antiquity, and Christian Origins. The Ancient History Sourcebook also includes links to visual and aural material, as art and archeology play a prominent role in the study of Ancient history. There are also pages designed specifically to help teacher and students: Ancient History in the Movies, Using Primary Sources, Nature of Historiography, Other Sources of Information on Ancient History, and more.
Illustrated History of the Roman Empire
This website offers a comprehensive history of the Roman Empire through essays, chronologies, photo galleries, maps, lists, timelines, and more. Major categories include The Founding, The Kings, The Republic, Early Emperors, The Decline, The Collapse, Constantinople, Religion, Society, and The Army. It includes a Roman Empire Map AD 116 and interactive maps of Roman Italy, the Roman Empire, and the City of Rome. Among the photo galleries is a picture album of historic Roman sites as well as views of Rome as it looked in the 4th century AD. There are also lists of Roman battles, emperors, Roman place names, and other topics. There is an online quiz and embedded YouTube video of a Roman army reenactment. There is also a Kid’s Section, which is essentially an illustrated essay. The site design could use a facelift, but the site is maintained and updated and contains a wealth of information.
From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians
Part of PBS’s Frontline series, this companion site explores archeological clues to Jesus’ life, paints a portrait of his world, examines the gospels and the first Christians, and discusses why Christianity succeeded. From Jesus to Christ features the testimony of New Testament theologians, archaeologists, and historians who address issues relating to Jesus’ life and the evolution of Christianity. The site also offers interactive maps, a timeline, an anthology of primary sources, a discussion forum, and a biblical quiz. A new addition is the edited transcript of a two-day symposium at Harvard University which served as a follow-up to the FRONTLINE broadcast and featured scholars’ presentations, workshops and audience discussion.
An interesting and broad site that includes Qs and As, historical background, vivid images, and more. Some of the major categories include “Buddhist Studies”, “eBook Library”, “Buddhanet Audio”, “Archived File Library”, “World Buddhist Directory”, “BuddhaZine” (a kind of buddha devoted magazine), and “Meditation”. It integrates the complexities of the religion with the basics very well and has so many subtopics that it is difficult not to find what one is looking for. Some of the special features include audio files of chanting, a photo documentary of Buddhism, teacher’s guides, and crossword puzzles and games.
This recent PBS addition examines Islam through stories of diverse Muslims. The “Frequently Asked Questions” is like “Islam 101” as it concisely explains the basic principles of Islam, including the most widely accepted definition of “jihad.” This site provides an abundance of fascinating facts about Islamic history, basic beliefs, and various other topics through its portrayal and interviews of various Muslims.
Oriental Institute Virtual Museum
The Oriental Institute Museum is a showcase of the history, art and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The Museum exhibits major collections of antiquities from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and Anatolia. The Oriental Institute Virtual Museum makes use of a series of Apple QuickTime VR panoramic movies to take you on a tour of each of the Museum’s galleries, accompanied by descriptions of each alcove and their artifacts. Where appropriate, links to related materials, such as the Museum’s Highlights From The Collections, the Photographic Archives, and relevant Oriental Institute Archaeology and Philology projects elaborate on the most significant objects in greater detail.
BBC: The Story of Africa
This BBC site features Africa’s top historians and analyzes the events and characters that have shaped the continent from the origins of humankind to the end of South African apartheid. Among the topics covered are the rise and fall of empires and kingdoms, the power of religion, the injustices of slavery, and the expansion of trade between Africa and other continents. Features audio segments.
Wonders of the African World
In this PBS production Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. challenges the widespread Western view of Africa as the primitive “dark continent” civilized by white colonists. The series covers Black Pharaohs, Meroe, Gedi, the Swahili People, Zanzibar, the Ashanti and Dahomey (Benin) Kingdoms, Aksum, Gondar, the Churches of Lalibela, the Dogon, Grand Mosque of Djenne, Empires of Mali & Ghana, the Tuareg, Great Zimbabwe, a 1,000 year old South African city – Mapangubwe, the Shona People, etc. Includes a kids’ activity page, teachers’ lesson plans, and audio clips.
This Flash-generated BBC site allows users to examine key events in the development of any given ideology or religion and its diffusion across the world. It uses web technology to reveal the sweep of historical forces and the rise and fall of great empires and ideas over 5000 years and is customizable. You will need the Flash 6 player to use Civilisations.
Money – Past, Present & Future: Information on Monetary History, Contemporary Developments, and Electronic Money
Based on Glyn Davies’ book, “A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day”, this web site is an excellent resource that covers an array of topics: monetary history, forms of money, politics of money, financial scandals, money and banking in fiction, alternative forms of exchange and economics of the internet. Some topics are covered entirely by Davies, while others use collections of external links. The monetary history section includes “A Comparative Chronology of Money”, a comprehensive timeline from 9,000 BC to the present.