You can’t visit the galleries of the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in person right now, but you can experience its collection virtually beginning May 18 (International Museums Day) through Google Arts & Culture.
If you search “Georgia Museum of Art,” more than 160 copyright-cleared works of art in the museum’s collection, as well as an online exhibition of the works donated by C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry, will be available at https://artsandculture.google.com/ and on the Google Arts & Culture app, available for download on Android and iOS. The images are high resolution, meaning visitors to the site can zoom in and get closer to some paintings than they could in real life, illuminating hard-to-view details.
Many of the museum’s most beloved works of art are included, such as Elizabeth Jane Gardner’s “La Confidence” and Radcliffe Bailey’s large multimedia work of art “7 Steps,” both of which have been included in the museum’s Fifth-Grade Tour Program for years. Some works normally seen only under glass, including miniature portraits, can be examined much more closely than usual. The museum made sure to draw from a wide variety of works in its collection, including decorative arts, Renaissance drawings, works by African American artists donated by Larry and Brenda Thompson and many of the original 100 American paintings that made up its initial collection.
The Terry family donated 14 paintings and works on paper from their personal collection to the museum two years ago. Mrs. Terry and her late husband have generously supported many endeavors across the University of Georgia for decades, including the Terry College of Business – which bears their name.
Their desire for the public to see these works makes that exhibition an ideal one with which to launch the museum’s works on Google Arts & Culture. Google Arts & Culture also allows people to compare works from many institutions within the same platform. That means people can look at the Maurice Prendergast painting the Terrys donated and draw connections between it and ones by the same artist at the Phillips Collection, in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.
In a time when travel and many major loan exhibitions that draw from multiple collections will be canceled, this platform offers the opportunity to travel the world and assemble your own.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society. In 2019, International Museum Day garnered record-breaking participation with more than 55,000 museums hosting events in some 150 countries. The theme for 2020 is “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion.” Making the Georgia Museum of Art’s collection more accessible in this way is a step toward those goals, although many others still need to be taken, including the expansion of high-speed internet access. More information on International Museum Day is available at http://imd.icom.museum/.
The Georgia Museum of Art also maintains an online collections database accessible to the public at https://emuseum.georgiamuseum.org/, which it updates frequently.