The Reading Public Museum announces the launch of its collection on two separate digital platforms, Google Art Project and eMuseum. The two projects transform The Museum’s collection management and sharing capabilities on a worldwide scale. The programs give access to popular items both on and off display and will broaden the public’s understanding of The Museum’s collections as a whole. Both systems went live earlier this month.
Google, Inc., the popular company known best for its search engine, launched the Google Art Project in 2011. It is, according to the Google Cultural Institute, “an effort to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.” RPM joined the 1,000+ museums and cultural heritage organizations who utilize the digital platform.
Over 250 works from RPM’s permanent collection are available for the public to view and study in high resolution. Searches can be pointed to the collection specifically, or the entire database, and results filtered to individual interests including – ceramic vessels, Mannerist paintings of the 16th century, or the American Civil War.
The Museum also published American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists’ Colony, a digital exhibition of American Impressionist paintings within Google Art Project. Since March, RPM’s page has been viewed almost 10,000 times by people on every continent except Antarctica. RPM plans to post additional digital exhibitions in the near future. Visit https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/QAKCFHwpdAH_LQ to view highlights from the collection.
eMuseum is an online collections sharing experience created by Gallery Systems. With a grant from the Wyomissing Foundation, The Museum purchased and integrated eMuseum’s platform into its existing website. eMuseum is the culmination of years of work – making the records entered into The Museum’s internal database now accessible to those beyond the Curatorial staff of RPM. The public can access and search records for items both on display and in storage, sorting them by artist, medium, or country of origin. Users have the option to create their own login information in order to save and share their favorites with others, and post them on social media. As TMS records are continuously edited to reflect new research, eMuseum will regularly sync to reflect the most up-to-date information. The number of records available for searching will increase as more entries are added to the database. Visit www.readingpublicmuseum.org to view highlights from the collection.
Ashley Houston, Collections Manager and Registrar for the Reading Public Museum commented, “The parallel implementation of these two programs comes at an ideal time for The Museum. Visitors and the public in general are looking for digital viewing options, and a major initiative to photograph the collection in high resolution has produced hundreds of quality images to complement ongoing collection research. This will be the first time a significant portion of The Museum’s collection will have an online presence.”
The Museum foresees benefits of both platforms to include a rise in loan requests from cultural institutions, opportunities for art-based research in academic organizations, improved availability of the collection to scholars, and increased attendance.
By establishing the digital platforms, RPM joins the ranks of major institutions which already utilize eMuseum and have a presence on the Google Cultural Institute worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC, and the National Gallery, London.