Smarthistory in 2015—more than 13 million views

The Exhibition Room_at Somerset House by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin 1800.

Thanks to you, Smarthistory had a hugely successful year. If Smarthistory was helpful for you, or you just believe in our mission (making the global history of art and cultural heritage available for free to the world), please consider donating.

Here is a little of what happened this year:

Our Contributors!

Smarthistory’s roster of amazingly generous contributors has grown…a lot. Art historians, curators, classicists, and archaeologists with deep expertise in a dizzying array of cultures—old and new have given their time to bring the brilliant stories of human achievement to life for learners around the world. An especially warm welcome to our new contributing editors Dr. Maya Jimenez and Dr. Billie Lythberg. And special thanks to those of you (Melody Rod-ari, Kristen Chiem, Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, Peri Klemm, Jennifer Wagelie, Nancy Ross, Jeffrey Becker, Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, Nathalie Hager, Hung Sheng, Elizabeth Cummins, Rex Koontz, Ellen Hurst, Bryan Zygmont, Tina Rivers, Hannah Sigur, and Sarahh Scher, among many others), who were especially helpful in writing, editing and helping us reach a broader community of contributors.

Our Content!

As a result of your hard work, we offer more essays and videos in more content areas than ever before. Growth has been especially strong in non-Western art particularly in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Islamic art. We are also supporting the new Advanced Placement art history course. And over the past year we expanded our partnership content adding videos we made with The British Museum, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the World Monuments Fund. In total we now have 680 videos and even more essays.

Our Learners (and their instructors)!

And most importantly, more learners than ever are using Smarthistory resources. For 2015, our videos were viewed 5.5 million times and our essays had 7.9 million views. Google the words “art history” (or many frequently-taught works of art) and Smarthistory’s work is listed first (or at least near the top of the page). This happens for only one reason—students are seeking deeper and more engaging content and they find that on Smarthistory.

Recent comments:

“Smarthistory has become essential to my teaching. At a time when the cost of textbooks is rapidly increasing, the site makes art history accessible to my students. It also makes the experience of art vivid to them, with videos and discussions that bring them places, Luxor, the Pantheon, Hagia Sophia, they have never been before. And it’s an invaluable resource for PhD students in art history who are beginning to teach themselves, and who are the future of the field.”
—Rachel Kousser, Professor and Executive Officer, Ph.D. Program in Art History, CUNY Graduate Center

Smarthistory is the reason why i get A’s on my art history papers
—@doritoslikei

“Smarthistory is a unique treasure: for the study of Art History and Archaeology, there is nothing comparable. Videos put the focus squarely on the individual work of art or architecture which is displayed and discussed from many points of view. In a few short minutes, a Smarthistory video makes its viewer feel conversant with the appearance and significance of a masterpiece. The eighteenth century had the Grand Tour, enabling Europe’s aristocratic elite to put the final polish onto its education by spending months seeing the sights of Venice, Florence, Rome, and Naples. The twenty-first century has Smarthistory, a virtual Grand Tour of the world’s cultural heritage made available at no cost to millions of people across the globe at the click of a mouse.”
—Bernard Frischer, Professor, Indiana University and Director, Virtual World Heritage Laboratory

“I am a huge fan of SmartHistory…as are my Art History teacher colleagues and the many students I’ve introduced to it over the years. Your resources have been especially helpful in our outreach work…where resources are at a premium: we would have really struggled to run the course effectively without this support.”
— Rose Aidin, Education Office, Association of Art Historians, London

“Watching Smarthistory videos with my 9th grade world history class. Amazing.”
—Steve DeBoer, Westborough High School, Westborough, MA

SmartHistory is going to be the reason I pass my art history exam tomorrow
—@VeganSloth

What’s next?

For 2016 we plan to substantially broaden our content. We will continue to focus on works of art and cultural heritage that students study most, while also expanding our global coverage. For example, we are planning to add substantial new content in the art of Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Islamic world.

And we heard your feedback about missing our old site. In the next few months we will be launching a new version of Smarthistory.org. Those who like Khanacademy.org, don’t worry, we will continue to add our new content there as well.

We need your support!

We need your support to continue to make great art history content available for free and with no advertising. Smarthistory is an independent 501(c)3 organization and your contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. Smarthistory has received generous gifts from John and Ann Doerr and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a Kickstarter campaign and indirectly from Khan Academy and the Google Cultural Institute but we need you to continue our work. Please donate here. Thank you.

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