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Tate Modern revamps Web site

Interactive tour lets art lovers plan a gallery route, gives nonvisitors a glimpse of what they're missing.

The Tate Modern, Britain's national museum of modern art in London, has revamped its Web site to include a new interactive tour of its collections.

The virtual tour of the galleries is designed to help art lovers who are planning a visit to the museum, the organization said Monday. The tour also sports a function to let would-be visitors plan out their own route through the gallery, depending on which art they would like to see, on an in-depth map of the center's layout.

The Tate Modern also has introduced additional educational features to the site, including a time line of the gallery's works, where users can look through its catalog according to art movement, period or year.

Jemima Rellie, head of digital programs at the Tate, said the Internet tour facilities are designed to help visitors avoid feeling overwhelmed by the volume of works available to view, to let past visitors get a glimpse of pieces at home they may not have had time to see, and to give those who aren't able to get to the gallery a chance to see what they're missing in the collection.

The Web site, produced with BT, attracts more than 1 million visitors per month and claims to be Europe's most popular art Web site.

According to Andrew Percy, senior interactive filmmaker at BT, further developments are planned, and the telecommunications company's design team is working on an addition to the BT Series section of the Tate Modern Web site. The series, which has already featured artist Tracy Emin, aims to explore the work of a single artist through interviews, their personal commentary and information on their works.

Andrew Marr, host of the BBC's Sunday AM and member of the Tate's council, said, "I hope this gets used in bedrooms and coffee bars and kitchen tables around the country and around the world...Apparently, 40 percent of men on the Internet are visiting porn sites. This is something much more exciting."

The tour can be found at the Tate's Web site.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.