The Google Art Project and Smarthistory at Khan Academy

Khan Academy and the Google Art Project

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 10:01:00

You may have been wondering what Smarthistory has been up to since we joined Khan Academy in October. We’ve had to keep this hush-hush…but we can now announce that we have contributed more than 100 videos to the unbelievably great, second iteration of the Google Art Project.

We’ve made 90 Khan Academy videos expressly for version 2, which launched today, April 3rd, at the Musée d’Orsay, the Art Institute of Chicago, and museums in many other countries. We’ve also contributed 26 pre-existing videos to the Art Project. Finally, we worked closely with Sandbox Studios to create an engaging introduction to looking at art. Our videos can be seen in the education section (the playlist is embedded at the bottom of the first page) and on the specific object “detail” pages.

We jumped at this opportunity because the Art Project has such enormous educational potential. It is critical to gather works of art from different institutions to tell the nuanced stories of art history. The Art Project brings together works of art from 151 museums in 40 countries within a cohesive visual environment. The high resolution images, powerful zoom function, “Museum View” (an interior version of “Street View”) and the ability to collect and annotate images, are all features that are ideal for teaching and learning.

Museums of art safeguard, make accessible, and interpret our shared cultural history even as they help to define the civic aspirations of their communities. Museums have always been defined by place, although traveling exhibitions and, more recently, museum websites have helped to “jail break” the art. André Malraux famously identified this new ability to see across institutional collections in his essay, the “Museum Without Walls.”

For a “Museum Without Walls” is coming into being, and…it will carry infinitely farther that revelation of the world of art…which the “real” museums offer us within their walls.

——André Malraux, The Voices of Silence

As always, all content is free and open. If you’re an art historian, museum educator, or curator, and you’re interested in contributing to the work we’re doing, please contact us.

We especially want to thank Colleen Brogan and Rachel Ropeik for coming through in a pinch and for their uncanny ability to make complex ideas clear.

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  1. How about making a Greek or Roman mythology section for khan academy? It would help those who study in that field or have anything they would like to know.


  2. I have been exploring Kahn Academy and it seems so interesting. I see that you have lots of art history offerings and I can’t wait to explore this a bit more. I don’t see any offerings for the basics of creating art. Do you have art lessons on making art? I have working in a k-8 public school for 10+ years now and would be interested in taking my message/lessons to a more global audience. I have a blog and share all of my ideas and lessons. I have also written several articles for SchoolArts Magazine and presented at ‘The Art of Education’ online global conference geared toward Art Educators as well as presenting at the Art Educations Conference of Minnesota this fall. So far I have use this blog mainly for collaboration with other art teachers throughout the world. Where can one apply to create lessons for Kahn Academy? Who can I talk to about joining your team? If interested in seeing what I have done in the past, please see my blog, I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.

    Nic Hahn


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