The Smithsonian Institution


The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. (USA) is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, and as such is home to an amazing array of online resources and opportunities.

Online entry point to the Smithsonian is its homepage; key page for online resources – including pages for researchers and eductors – is Explore & Learn. Some particularly relevant sections for education practices in the arts may be:

Smithsonian Archives of American Art
The AAA is the world’s preeminent and most widely used research center dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary sources that document the history of the visual arts in America including an extensive American Art Photographic Archive.

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Smithsonian’s online archive for materials related to intangible cultural heritage etc.

Smithsonian Digital Library
Digital resources and online books from the network of 21 specialised research libraries including a dedicated collection for Art & Design books and materials.

Smithsonian Distant Learning Lab
In the Learning Lab, educators and students have access to millions of digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, libraries, archives, and more. They also provide pre-packaged collections that contain lessons, activities, and recommended resources.

Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive
Descriptions and detailed inventories of thousands of primary resource collections, including digital content from letters, manuscripts, diaries and journals, ledgers and stock books, photographs, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and drawings, technical drawings and blueprints, field notebooks, log books, rare printed materials, sound recordings, videos.

Smithsonian Open Access
Download, share, and reuse nearly 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from the Smithsonian’s collections including images and data from across their 19 museums, nine research centres, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.

Additionally, all 19 museums under the Smithsonian show their collections online, amongst them the National Museum for African Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of Natural History.

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Peter Benz

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