Though perhaps without as much drama and attention as the website makeovers of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 and the recent redesign of the Rijksmuseum website, the Frick Collection recently debuted a freshly redesigned version of its web presence.
The new Frick site is cleaner, more modern and most importantly, better organized. There is a dedicated secondary site, collections.frick.org, devoted to searching the collections, though it is integrated with the main site. The search and browse functions, and particularly the display of search and browse returns, is much improved over the old site.
The display of the works themselves, though in a clearer, more neutral setting, is largely unchanged. The images have a zoom feature, but unlike more flexible ones on the sites of the Morgan Library, the Rijksmusem or the National Gallery in London, which can be zoomed in a fullscreen interface, this one is restricted to a relatively small window that cannot be enlarged, and part of the window is always obscured by the preview thumbnail. It’s unfortunate that the museum chose not to address this in the makeover.
That being said, it’s still a delight to be able to easily find and zoom in on gems from the Frick’s superb collection, even in a limited interface. There is also now a revised and improved “virtual tour” of the museum’s rooms and grounds, itself in a zoomable interface with hotspots on the works linked directly to the detail page for the work (above, second from bottom).
It’s a fun way to pay a virtual visit to a great museum.