To act as a dynamic enhancement — or even substitute — for the traditional art history textbook.
Smarthistory originated in 2005 as a blog featuring free podcast guides to collections at the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. However, the site's creators believed that most traditional art history textbooks are not engaging enough and their accompanying Web resources woefully uncreative, so they expanded the project to include online art history survey courses featuring a combination of video, audio, text, and images. Funded in large part by the New York City-based Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the site now functions as a comprehensive art history "Web-book" that can be used on its own or in conjunction with traditional art history survey courses.
Outstanding Web Features:
The Smarthistory Web site allows visitors to browse art history topics and artworks by period, style, artist, or theme. In addition, the site offers hundreds of videos that also can be viewed on YouTube and Vimeo and which viewers can embed on their own blogs or Web sites. Teachers are encouraged to share lessons with their students, and the site also provides information about how content on the site was created as a guide to users who want to create content of their own. The site also provides links to the project's Flickr group and an art history timeline on the Dipity platform.