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For many of us the dream of being able to travel throughout the world to visit museums and heritage sites is just that:  A dream.

However, I was just tipped off to a fabulous site called “The Google Art Project” which contains collections of fine artworks from around the world.  What a great resource!

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

This website is available to anyone in the world who has unrestricted internet access. (I say “unrestricted” because unfortunately and deplorably there are governments in the world that seem to think it is necessary to “protect” their citizens from certain areas of the internet.)  A perusal of the available collections reveals works of art from museums in Kuwait, Greece, Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Spain, Peru, the United States, Qatar, Hungary, France, Germany, Uruguay, Columbia, Italy, Portugal, Argentina. the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Australia, the United Kingdom, India, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Brazil, Turkey, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Latvia, Austria, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Poland.  Many of these countries are represented by more than one museum.

Illustration, Persian manuscript

Illustration, Persian manuscript

“Artworks” include graphic art, ceramics, metalwork, textiles, photographs, sculpture, and “cultural artifacts.”  You can see jars, boxes, dresses, carriages, screens, rugs, crowns, shoes, paintings, glassware … all sorts of wonderful things.

Detail, glass goblet, Islamic

Detail, glass goblet, Islamic

The website is set up in such a way as to let you chose to browse by collections,  artists, artworks or by user galleries. This Google website offers you the ability to assemble your own private art gallery (which you can allow to be displayed in the user’s galleries section). For example, if you choose to browse the collections, you can select a collection and then browse the artworks available in this collection.

Detail, lid of crystal goblet, Europe

Detail, lid of crystal goblet, Europe

However way you chose to browse, you may then select an individual artwork to view more closely.  Each individual artwork has a description (if it is not shown, click on “Detail” in the upper left corner) that tells what it is, who made it (if known), when it was made, what it’s made of, etc.

Illustration, 11th Century Manuscript

Illustration, 11th Century Manuscript

Then on the right-hand side is a “zoomer” box (which you can see in the illustration above) that allows you to zoom in on any area of the artwork by dragging the selection window around with your mouse so that you can study an area in greater detail.

Detail, Wedding Train, Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) Austria

Detail, Wedding Train, Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) Austria

You can create your own collection, and you can browse through other users’ collections (21,000+ of them!)

Detail of gold coin, Kuwait

Detail of gold coin, Kuwait

This website could be accessed by schools, as well as by children in their own homes.  What a tremendous cultural resource to make accessible to children.

In addition to the Art Project, there are the “Historical Moments” and “World Wonders” projects.  You can find everything here at the Google Cultural Institute —  Drop in for a visit,  but only when you have plenty of time to go exploring!

Empress Dowager Cixi, photograph presented to Alice Roosevelt

Empress Dowager Cixi, photograph presented to Alice Roosevelt
Detail, Letter from Nelson Mandeal to Zeni and Zindzi Mandela

Detail, Letter from Nelson Mandeal to Zeni and Zindzi Mandela

Note:  All images in this post are from The Google Cultural Project.

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