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HistoryWired offers a virtual tour of a large collection of objects from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
This cleverly designed site features a grid on the home page that uses JavaScript rollovers to display the contents of the site. Users need Real Player for the multimedia parts of the site and an up-to-speed browser, though there is also a text version available.
The site is organized into 12 broad categories that can be accessed through the top navigation bar and a drop-down menu. The clickable object map offers access to individual objects within each area, and an interactive time line appears above the top navigation bar.
HistoryWired displays a few of the vast collection of objects at the American Museum of Natural History. Objects were chosen for the "interesting stories they had to tell." Visitors can liken the virtual tour to an actual tour of the storage areas of the museum, by rolling the mouse over the object map and choosing the objects of interest. Clicking on a square of the map gives visitors the choice of learning more about the object or viewing it in different sizes. Most of the object information offers the opportunity to view more similar objects. Users who are looking for objects of a particular time period can use the interactive time line by dragging the slider to the time period of choice and highlighting the squares that contain objects from that period. Students will certainly enjoy the interface as they browse the contents but for quick accessibility there is a search feature.

Reviewed by Hazel Jobe
Education World®
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