Paintings and sculptures long stored away are finding a new audience, as museums strive for mass appeal with high-tech web sites packed with video, podcasts, and interactive elements, Reuters reports. Moreover, these institutions are finding that rather than diminishing the number of museum visits, the web is actually boosting in-person attendance. “All museums, especially art museums, realize the internet is a way to drive visits,” said Ford Bell, chief executive officer of the 6,500-member American Association of Museums. “Some museums now let people go online and download tours ahead of time on their iPods.” The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art offers a podcast series that includes audio and video interviews with artists, curators, and visitors as they explain or react to works on display there. Visitors can also save $2 on admission if they present their MP3 player loaded with the current podcast of Scottish video artist Douglas Gordon describing how he filmed an elephant in the middle of the night for his work “Play Dead: Real Time,” which was recently featured at the museum…

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