February 22, 2011 — The University of Virginia Art Museum will expand access to its collection on Feb. 25 with the launch of an Online Collection catalog and innovative Object Study Gallery.
"The Online Collection creates expanded virtual access to the permanent collection for study, and fosters new research among our students, faculty and visitors," museum director Bruce Boucher said. "In addition, a public kiosk in the new second floor Object Study Gallery will provide on-site and virtual visitors with access to information about works on view in this state-of-art open storage and study center. Together, these new initiatives support the academic mission of the museum.
The Online Collection, available at the museum's website, provides access to more than 1,000 images and accompanying catalog information for browsing, study, research and teaching. Museum curators selected these major works of art from the museum's 13,000-object collection, which includes American and European paintings; sculpture; photography; prints and drawings of the 15th through 20th centuries; art from the ancient Mediterranean; and African, American Indian, Asian, Oceanic and pre-Columbian art.
During this ongoing endeavor, new images and records are being added as curators review archival information and as new high-resolution digital photography is completed.
The Online Collection offers special features, such as quick and advanced searches; the ability to closely examine a work using the Zoomable user interface; collection-specific and exhibition image portfolios; personalized community portfolios which may be shared with students, faculty, classmates, friends or colleagues; and social media options for e-mail, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.
"The launch of the Online Collection is a milestone for the museum's digitization program that includes extensive review and research of archival records by curatorial and collections staff," collections manager Jean Collier said. "This is a significant benchmark that enhances access to the collections in support of our mission."
Collier, assistant registrar Nicole Anastasi, digital coordinator William Auten and collections volunteer Anne Fechtel collaborated with curators to customize the software for the museum, review content and produce images. Technology and staffing are supported by Vice Provost for the Arts Elizabeth H. Turner, the Virginia Equipment Trust Fund and The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Endowment.
The Object Study Gallery has approximately 140 objects on view, including Chinese bronzes, ceramics and sculpture; ancient Mediterranean coins, glass and marble sculpture; pre-Columbian ceramics; and African masks and figures. Also on display are selections of beadwork, ceramics and silver from the museum's American Indian collection and bark paintings and carved sculpture of the Australia's Northern Territory from the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection.
Highlights of the installation include a 15th-century Hungarian processional crucifix of enamel, silver and gilt bronze, as well as a Chinese Tang Dynasty ceramic horse, c. 600-800 that is on extended loan from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation.
"The gallery's opening signals a new programmatic engagement at the museum with the research and teaching mission of the University community," Turner said. "The University is pleased to offer our community this exciting opportunity for engagement with beautiful and enduring tokens of culture that engage the senses and mark the passage of time."
The Object Study Gallery is open to the public during regular visiting hours and, in its function as a classroom, may be reserved for small class sessions for teaching and study.
Entrance to the museum is free; it is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m. For information, visit www.virginia.edu/artmuseum or call 434-924-3592.