A new, interactive, online map of the Tate Britain galleries – Explore Tate Britain, which was developed jointly by Tate and BT, exclusive sponsor of Tate Online, was launched today by intrepid explorer, actor and presenter Michael Palin at Tate Britain.

Explore Tate Britain, which aims to make the gallery accessible to people over the world, enables web users to create their own personal “virtual” tour through the Tate Britain galleries, which house the world’s greatest display of British art from 1500 to the present day, including the largest Turner collection in the world.

The map allows the user to view a layout of the building and hone in on individual galleries to see exactly which works are on display in each room. Users can then select their favourite works and save their own personal tour of Tate Britain. Michael’s Palin’s personal tour focuses on some of his favourite works including Joseph Wright of Derby’s An Iron Forge 1772 and JMW Turner’s Snowstorm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps exh. 1812.

In addition to encouraging greater access by making personal tours of Tate Britain available online, Explore Tate Britain also introduces online room texts in an unprecedented range of languages, including French, Spanish, Bengali, Arabic and Japanese.

Explore Tate Britain also provides interpretation material, such as a comprehensive timeline, written captions for works and audio clips drawn from a wide range of sources. These additional items allow detailed examination of works and provide explanations of different displays.

Michael Palin comments:

The concept of being able to access Tate Britain’s extensive Collection, wherever you are in the world, is simply irresistible. Explore Tate Britain offers a depth of information and interactivity that is groundbreaking and Tate and BT should be applauded for their efforts to make art accessible to everyone, everywhere.

Jemima Rellie, head of digital programmes at Tate, comments:

While Explore Tate Britain opens up the gallery and its contents to new audiences around the world, it also enables visitors to the gallery to make better use of their time at Tate Britain by planning their tour in advance. Visitors to Tate Online can save their personal tour, share it with friends and even print it off and bring it with them when they visit the gallery. This will be a fantastic tool for teachers and parents who want to share a pre-determined tour with students and children.

Paul Leonard, head of commercial sponsorship at BT, comments:

The continued rapid expansion of broadband is providing huge opportunities to broaden access and participation in the arts to new target audiences via the internet. Explore Tate Britain is a fantastic initiative which adds further value to the award winning content that BT and Tate have jointly developed over the years for Tate Online.

BT has been sole sponsor of Tate Online since 2001, providing both technical and financial support to the site. In the last two years, Tate Online has won two BAFTAs for online content and has consistently been the most visited arts website in the country. Visitor figures continue to grow and last month a record breaking 523,000 unique visitors logged onto the site.

The concept of Explore Tate Britain was initially launched in Autumn 2001, but this new version provides the visit with a more comprehensive view of the gallery with added functionality that will facilitate planning and following up on a visit.

Notes to Editor

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions serving customers in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Its principal activities include IT and networking services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services.

BT consists principally of three lines of business:

BT Retail, providing fixed and mobile communications services and solutions and IT and networking services to more than 20 million business and residential customers in the UK. It is also a leading UK internet services provider.
BT Wholesale, providing network services and solutions within the UK to more than 600 fixed and mobile operators and service providers including the provision of broadband, private circuits.
BT Global Services, providing IT and networking services internationally to meet the needs of multi-site organisations with European operations. BT Global Services operates in more than 130 countries and also offers international carrier services.

In the year ended 31 March 2004, BT Group’s turnover was £18,519 million with profit before goodwill amortisation, exceptional items and taxation of £2,013 million.

BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/aboutbt

Contact

For further information please contact Tate Press Office:
Call + 44 (0)20 7887 8730 / 4939 / 4906
Email pressoffice@tate.org.uk
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