The Web Library: Building a World Class Personal Library with Free Web Resources

Online companion to the book. Frequently updated: last update = 5-10-06
copyright Nick Tomaiuolo 2005

Chapter Seven: Pixels at an Exhibition

Archival Exhibitions on the Web
The creation of the information specialists at the Smithsonian Institution Library, end users can search the web for online exhibitions that are primarily relevant to libraries, archives and historical societies.

Art Images for College Teaching (AICT)
The express purpose of this database, which offers 1,100 images personally photographed by the site's creator, art historian and visual resources librarian Allan Kohl, is to freely disseminate images of important art and architecture.  The collection is organized into five categories: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance & Baroque, 18th – 20th Century, and Non-Western, but one cannot search for specific images. Each photograph is concisely described and accompanied by cross references to where the subject is discussed in one or more of 20 widely used art history survey textbooks. Emphasizing that the site is a “Free Use Educational Resource,” Kohl encourages any use that is both educational and non-commercial, which will help faculty without the resources to buy access to expensive collections.

Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative
CDLI Represents the efforts of an international group of Assyriologists, museum curators and historians of science to make available through the internet the form and content of cuneiform tablets dating from the beginning of writing, ca. 3200 B.C., until the end of the third millennium. View the tablets here!

Google Museum Directory
Let Google guide you to art, science, natural history, children's museums and others or browse by region.

MoCCA: the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art
exhibitions from the world's first cartoon museum located in New York City. 
This tool maintains a catalog of over 20,000 museum resources; predominantly concerned with topics that have an online gallery or virtual exhibit associated with them.  
WebExhibits is a pubic service seeking to make people more informed about science and culture (e.g., studying connections between art and science). You can copy, distribute, or display many of the exhibits, unless otherwise mentioned.

World Wide Web Virtual Library Museum Pages 
A comprehensive directory of on-line museums and museum-related resources.

Exemplary Exhibitions
Art of the Motorcycle
The online counterpart of an exhibition mounted in 1998.

Artists of Brucke (MoMA)                       

Clockworks from the Sundial to the Atomic Second
A creative web only exhibit from Encyclopedia Britannica.

Dangerous Curves: the Art of the Guitar
A preview of 28 guitars from this exhibition that ran from 2000-2001 at the MFA in Boston. Hosted by the Museum of Musical Instruments -- check out its other exhibitions and collections.

Frick Collection Comprehensive List of Paintings
The entire catalog of paintings from the Frick Museum (New York) with links to many digital reproductions. 

Internet Public Library Exhibits 
A smattering of unique, multimedia Web exhibits. From lighthouse photographs to the classics of Western music.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 
The MFA online tours introduces you to the 316,000 objects in the museum's collection.

Museum of Modern Art Online Projects
An ambitious site employing the newest digital technology.

National Gallery of Art: "In-Depth Study Tours" 
Hundreds of guided virtual tours from Washington, D.C.

Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934 (MoMA) 
A remarkable web only exhibition.


Virtual Instrument Museum
Hosted by Wesleyan University (Connecticut) the "VIM" presents approximately 100 instruments. Some of the displays are accompanied by audio and video.


Education (Examples)
Art Renewal Center

Very useful though very commerical, ARC is steadily expanding with thousands of high quality images of the greatest paintings and sculpture in history. The site is also building an encyclopedic collection of essays, biographies and articles by top scholars in the field.


Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature
The expansive physical counterpart of this exhibition ran at the National Library of Medicine from 1997-1998. Many of its appendages live on at this site.

Intel Museum 
Can't find any information on the 8086 microprocessor? It's all here.

Ocean Planet 
Ocean Planet premiered at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History from April 1995 to April 1996, where it attracted nearly two million visitors. This electronic online companion exhibition contains all of the text and most of the panel designs and images found in the traveling exhibition.

Entertainment (Examples)
Life Magazine Cover Collection 
120 Life Magazine covers for research, education and fun.

National Baseball Hall of Fame Online Exhibits Cooperstown, New York
A good example, for website managers as well as end users, of a website that keeps the public connected with an organization, its mission and its offerings.

Speak Softly and Carry a Beagle the Art of Charles Shultz
The online complement to a 2002 exhibition from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Special Research Collections (Examples)
Vincent van Gogh Gallery
Endorsed by the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, this site's 4,241 pages is a comprehensive research tool for van Gogh scholars. Created by David Brooks, it's available in 17 languages.

Chicago Historical Society: the Haymarket Affair Digital Collection
An outstanding digital collection providing online access to primary source materials relating to the Haymarket Affair, a controversial moment in Chicago's past and a pivotal event in the early history of the American labor movement.

Gottingen Gutenberg Bible
Due to the high quality images - especially the enlargements - it is possible that the download may take some time. It's worth waiting.

Gutenberg Bible: Digitized Images (The British Library)
Not one but TWO digitized specimens for viewing and comparison.

Library of Congress American Memory Exhibits
American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections.

Octavo Editions
The web location of the company that digitized the Library of Congress's Gutenberg Bible.


Library of Congress Rare Books and Special Collections Division
Digitized rare books including including Mercator's atlas (1595), dime novels, William Blake and others.

Become a Curator at the Fine Arts Museums (San Francisco)
Have some fun and prepare your own web-based exhibition hosted at the Fine Arts Museums. Click  "Create Your Own Gallery Online!"  Or become a curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts!

"Turning the Pages" at the British Library and the National Library of Medicine
Using animation software, the digitized images of rare and beautiful historic books are available for site visitors to virtually "leaf through." You can also zoom in on the pages for more detail while reading or listening to explanations of the text. Three books are currently available at the NLM; 12 titles, including da Vinci's "Sketchbook" are available at the British Library.

More web-based exhibit sites

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