Monet's Garden Web Site
Lois Purdham-Kidane
purdham@vtx.ch
6 March 2002
EDTEC 541, Online Spring 2002


Problem, Need, or Opportunity

While many people may be familiar with the name Monet, the history of this artist, his work, and the world of beauty he nurtured around him may be less well known. Monet's gardens, in Giverny, France, were the inspiration for some of his most famous works of art. To visit the gardens is to step into his world; to be surrounded by the colors and the beauty that he envisioned and caught on canvas. For those who have not yet had the opportunity to visit the grounds, this site will introduce users to Claude Monet's home and gardens, his history, his art and the inter-relationship between his work and his environment. And for those who have already walked the grounds, the site will hopefully evoke warm memories and a re-appreciation of its beauty.


Audience

This site is intended for use by anyone, from young children to elderly, with an interest in beautiful gardens, impressionistic art or Claude Monet. It might particularly appeal to tourists planning a trip to France. A secondary audience might include students from grade school to university students majoring in art history.


User's Needs

Most people I spoke to had little idea about either Monet or his gardens and expressed an interest in learning more. Eight potential users, from 8 to 80 years old in the U.S. and in Europe, would like the proposed site to offer them:

  • Information about Monet, his personal and family life, what inspired him, where and when he chose to paint, and where he fits into impressionism and the history of art
  • The story behind the garden: where it is, how it was laid out, what special features it has, how it is maintained
  • The relation between his art and his garden, comparing his pictures with the sites that he painted, and some commentary about his work
  • Comments from others about their experience in Monet's gardens.

Media-wise, potential users suggested that the site

  • be accompanied by music from the period,
  • offer a downloadable screensaver of one of his pictures,
  • link to other interesting, related sites
  • offer a game for children
  • give the option of watching a short video tour or of Monet

Clearly the site will be graphics-oriented, with numerous pictures of his work. It should also include a simple art-history timeline, and possible a map with mouse-overs that could link to pictures of different areas of the park. Audio commentary about specific pictures could be included. The idea of a matching game between Monet's pictures and the real sites they represent might be a possible attraction for younger visitors to the site. Ideally, a short video clip of Monet himself might be interesting, dependent upon locating such a video and getting the necessary permissions.


Environment

As I envision it, visitors to the site would be doing so primarily from their homes, although they may also be accessing from classrooms. They would be doing so independently. I have to assume that users will have a wide range of Internet connections and varying sophistication of computers. Particularly in the case of students and others from less developed countries, the connection will be slower. In most cases music should not present a problem, particularly as any music that would be on the site would be calming and of a low volume and users would have the option of turning it off.


Resources and Limitations

I will write the text based on information from various resource books. Monet's artwork I believe is in the public domain so I will not need permission to show them on my site, but I will need to confirm this. I also have a small library of photographs taken during my visit to the gardens, which I will be able to draw from. I may do an audio recording to accompany selected pictures. I will need to request permission for the use of music, any video clips, and a particular set of maps of the grounds.

I may create an animated graphic, depending on the level of difficulty and what I'm able to master during the course. If I am able to develop a game for children, I would like to include a particular character from the book "Linnea in Monet's Garden" by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson for which I will also need to request permission. As I have never had to request permissions before, I'm not sure whether it will be granted, and if so, if I will receive it before the project deadline. This will be a challenge.


General Solution

The site will begin at a welcoming home page that will offer the users a variety of different options. They'll be able to take a visual tour of the garden, using roll-over links on a map graphic of the grounds, accompanied by music from the impressionist period. Users can enter a narrated section showing comparison shots of selected works by Monet and the objects/places that inspired the pictures. Another link will bring them to a section on the Monet family history, with pictures and text. Users will find a timeline tracking significant events in art history and Monet's place in that history. There will also be a section for children with an interactive game.

In addition, the site will offer links to other Monet-related sites and museums exhibiting his work. Through the richness of the site, I hope to be able to pique the interest of the users into visiting the real gardens in Giverny and to increase their knowledge of Monet's history and work.