Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another Museum's Collection On-Line

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Isabella reporting,

The internet has been a boon to us history-nerds. One of the most exciting developments has come from world-famous museums who are making their collections and exhibitions available on line - a wonderful and generous gift to all of us who can't jet around the world visiting museums. Like everything on the internet, these sites are definitely works in progress, with new images and downloads being added all the time.

We've shared several of these links with you in earlier posts:
   • The Museum of the City of New York's collection of gowns by designers Charles Frederick Worth & Mainboucher.
   • We've often illustrated our posts with items we've first seen thanks to the National Trust Collections on-line, which highlights the thousands of holdings of over 200 National Trust Places in the U.K.
   • Not quite an exhibition, but exhibition catalogues: the Metropolitan Museum of Art's backlist of out-of-print art books and catalogues available to download. The Museum's collection is on-line, too, here.
   • A slideshow featuring the 18th c. tokens left with foundling at the London Foundling Museum.
   • The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg have a wealth of on-line resources including podcasts, vodcasts, slideshows, & videos here; our favorite is (obviously!) highlights 300 years of historic clothing in their collections.

Now another of our favorite museums is putting its collections on-line. Winterthur Museum is the premier museum of the American decorative arts, plus many other pieces from around the world in their wide-ranging collection. On visits there, I've seen everything from fighting-cock spurs to sleeve puffs, from early sunglasses to a silver tureen, above, to a lady's chamberpot called a bourdaloue. These items and many, many more are now available for browsing on Winterthur's collections site. In addition, Winterthur has put several of their most popular exhibitions on-line as well, including the recent Uncorked! Wine, Objects, & Tradition.

Of course, this is only a tiny fraction of museums with on-line resources. Do you have a favorite you'd like to share with us? Please, please let us know in a comment with a link!

Above: Silver tureen and stand, made by Robert Garrard, Jr., London, England, 1824-25. Winterthur Museum. Photograph by Susan Holloway Scott.


Helena said...

This is exactly what the Internet was invented for - sharing knowledge and resources. And don't all these wonderful sites make research so much easier? Thank you for these and all the other fascinating links which you give us.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

The Museum of London and the British Museum are great sites for information about anything from the London Docks to amulets in ancient Egypt. You are so right whey you say that the Internet offers so much research information.

Anonymous said...

The Smithsonian's Catalog of American Portraits (CAP) is a great resource. You can access it through the website of the National Portrait Gallery.

Isobel Carr said...

Have you spent any time on bildindex.de? The German museums did an amazing job of cataloging their holdings. They have a nice collection of Regency fashion prints too.

Alexa Adams said...

I'm so fortune as to live in the heart of Dupont country, and Winterthur is just five minutes up the road. It is a phenomenal resource, and I experience no little swell of pride when I read posts like this one, acknowledging that fact. A few years ago, during the 2010 elections, The Daily Show did a bit making fun of the supposed differences between northern and southern Delaware (the southern part being widely blamed for Christine O'Donnell's unseating of Senator Mike Castle in the primary). One person claimed the North was more cultural, pointing to the greater proliferation of museums, and the interviewer flashed a map on the screen, claiming that there are only two museums in Wilmington. Funny joke, if it were true. Not only was Winterthur unaccounted, but also The Hagley Museum and Nemours (just to name the most glaring omissions). Wilmington is a small city, but its cultural resources are magnificent, and I wish more people (including many who live here) were more aware of that fact.

Meg McNulty said...

I love the Victoria & Albert Museum (amazing costume and decorative art collections) - it has more than 1M objects searchable online: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/ The V&A were leading on a National Museums Online Learning project, which had a database where 9 of the UK's National Museums could be searched simultaneously. That included the Imperial War Museum and the British Museum. A really amazing resource but it appears defunct now?

Ingrid Mida said...

Here is my list of favourite online costume collections compiled in July 2012:

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket