Where did all the time go?
March 18, 2010 7:16 AM   Subscribe

What museums have websites you can get lost in? What sites, other than wikipedia, can you lose yourself in, jumping all around until you look up and go "huh, what time is it?"

I'm looking for inspiration for a project I am working on and would appreciate hearing which sites you can lose yourself in, particularly in an educational way (but not limited only to that). Thanks.
posted by dame to Grab Bag (27 answers total) 79 users marked this as a favorite
Atlas Obscura
posted by rabbitsnake at 7:17 AM on March 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

What sites, other than wikipedia, can you lose yourself in, jumping all around until you look up and go "huh, what time is it?"

posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:18 AM on March 18, 2010 [6 favorites]

You might also be interested in The Museum of Online Museums.
posted by rabbitsnake at 7:19 AM on March 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Metafilter. No not brown-nosing here. Seriously. Great stuff and comments help.
posted by stormpooper at 7:21 AM on March 18, 2010

I love browsing through the archived newsgroup postings at Yarchive. The minimalist site design also makes me all nostalgic.
posted by FishBike at 7:25 AM on March 18, 2010

Not that I'd recommend the content (and Australia certainly wouldn't), but Encyclopedia Dramatica has shamefully had this effect on me many times. More "insane car wreck you can't look away from" than "educational resource."

Cracked.com also has a number of entertaining, and surprisingly informative, articles you can lose yourself in too. Especially the countdowns ("Top five whatever").

I also recommend cruising Snopes. You can get lost in there for days and never come out. It's a compendium of urban legends that have been expertly debunked and/or verified.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:26 AM on March 18, 2010

The MFA Boston has an online tool for teachers, Educators Online, that allows users to make online Powerpoint-style presentations that draw from the Museum's collections. It's kind of a mixed bag, and most of the presentations are geared toward middle/high school students, so there's nothing too complicated, but there is some interesting stuff in there. (full disclosure: I made the ones that are tagged "Giza Mysteries" as an unpaid intern a while ago)
posted by oinopaponton at 7:32 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding Tv Tropes.

AV Club, especially once you start seeing interesting things on their "content auto-recycler-o-matic," or get sucked into reading the comment threads.
posted by anthom at 7:37 AM on March 18, 2010

Warning: TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life.
posted by gracedissolved at 7:45 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by at the crossroads at 7:46 AM on March 18, 2010

The All Music Guide does this pretty well. Sometimes IMDB has the same effect, if I'm in full procrastination mode.
posted by backwards guitar at 7:47 AM on March 18, 2010

Nthing TV Tropes and Snopes.

I've also lost a few hours looking at the pretty designs on Threadless.

I really like Know Your Meme as a more concise and SFW alternative to Encyclopedia Dramatica.

More interest-specific: because I knit and crochet, Ravelry. Because I am an immense Pokémon nerd, Bulbapedia. And because I love the intersection of craft-nerdery and video-game-nerdery, Sprite Stitch.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:55 AM on March 18, 2010

I'm a little unsure of what you're asking. Is the "sites, other than wikipedia, can you lose yourself in..." part of the question supposed to be in the context of museums, or is it a completely separate question? People seem to be assuming the latter. I assume you're not just looking for museum sites but are looking for visually interesting sites you can lose yourself in. So, here are visually interesting sites I can lose myself in:


Flickr Explore.


Dark Roasted Blend.

Sociological Images.



Daily Dose of Imagery (archives).

Bizarro Blog.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:55 AM on March 18, 2010

Library of Congress.
posted by rtha at 8:00 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I often feel that way about the Handbook of Texas online (sample article). The frustration of the fact that they do not use real hyperlinks and I have to look up each additional article myself is not enough to keep me from doing so for long periods of time.
posted by grouse at 8:12 AM on March 18, 2010

posted by mareli at 8:32 AM on March 18, 2010

what museum? The Exploratorium is pretty good.

(founded by Frank Oppenheimer, bother of Robert O. of nuke bomb fame, and a pretty cool cat in his own right)
posted by edgeways at 8:40 AM on March 18, 2010

The Straight Dope
Pathetic Geek Stories
They don't update it much anymore, but the archives of Damn Interesting are fascinating.
The Big Picture
posted by Lieber Frau at 9:23 AM on March 18, 2010

The first time I visited woodblock.com, the website of woodblock printer David Bull (our very own woodblock100), I spent somewhere between eight and ten hours exploring all its nooks and crannies. His sitemap shows you the full extent of what's there, but my favorite parts are learning about how the prints are made, and examining each of his series, including my favorite, the just completed "My Solitudes" series. Also, be sure not to miss the Encyclopedia of Woodblock Printmaking (including the "Library," a bibliography of books on the subject), and "A Story a Week," in which David gives you glimpses of his day to day life, which are often both informative and amusing.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:28 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Brooklyn Museum has quite a good website.
And the Newuseum's Today's Front Pages section is quite neat.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 9:56 AM on March 18, 2010

How Stuff Works is pretty cool.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:17 AM on March 18, 2010

It's a little klunky but I've spent many hours on the Web Gallery of Art.
posted by irisclara at 1:45 PM on March 18, 2010

The Encylopedia of Arkansas History and Culture from the Butler Center/Central Arkansas Library System.
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 1:53 PM on March 18, 2010

The British Museum site is pretty good. Try the online tours, or maybe the "history of the world in 100 objects".
posted by jonesor at 4:44 PM on March 18, 2010

If you love art galleries and art history, omigosh! Smarthistory.com.
posted by SarahbytheSea at 5:52 PM on March 18, 2010

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