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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

The Online Collection of the Walters Art Museum

Abstract

In 2011, the Walters Art Museum launched a major revision of its online collection. Alongside that launch, the museum removed copyright from the images of more than 10,000 artworks and provided those images for free download on the internet. The endeavor, sponsored by a grant from the NEA, is part of a larger rebranding effort to make all of the museum’s materials as widely accessible as possible, and friendlier.

The new website enables users to sort the collection in a variety of ways—by date, medium, place of origin and even the objects’ location within the museum. The search engine has been overhauled. Users can more easily add tags, or keywords, to the artworks. They can also curate their own collections of artworks on the website.

The new website included enhanced information about the artworks, such as conservation treatments and exhibition histories. This information will give visitors a better sense of the surprisingly active life of a museum object. This, and all information about the collection is dynamically published to the website, from the museum’s internal collections database, to ensure that the information remains as up-to-date as possible. This is of particular use to visitors curious about the current, physical location of an art object.

As always, we want to bring art and people together for enjoyment, discovery and learning. On the internet, we want to project the Walters’ artworks out into the world so that they are better known and can be shared with national and international audiences. We also want to facilitate study of the Walters’ artworks and encourage their use in educational activities.

Please take a look at our new website, http://art.thewalters.org  and try the new features. We hope it will help you make some new discoveries.

Type: 

Demonstration - show your project