Well, now you can, the George Eastman House Museum in Rochester, New York is the world’s oldest photgraphic music and contatins over 400,000 images and negatives.
The museum has joined forces with the Google Art Project and it is now possible to visit the museum without leaving the comfort of your home (or whereever you happen to be). This is the first photography museum to join this program and we’re quite sure not the last.
The initial group of 50 Eastman House photographs on Google Art Project spans the 1840s through the late 20th century and a wide variety of photographic processes from the 174 years of the medium’s existence are represented. The variety of subjects featured include Frida Kahlo, Martin Luther King Jr., the first train wreck ever photographed, the Lincoln conspirators, the Egyptian pyramids and Sphinx in the 1850s, and a portrait of photo pioneer Daguerre.
The list of masters include William Henry Fox Talbot, Hill & Adamson, Southworth & Hawes, Timothy O’Sullivan, Mathew Brady, Julia Margaret Cameron, Eadweard Muybridge, William Henry Jackson, Edward S. Curtis, Gertrude Kasebier, Eugene Atget, Alfred Stieglitz, Lewis W. Hine, Dorothea Lange, Nickolas Muray, and Benedict J. Fernandez. Eastman House will continually add to its Google Art Project galleries.
“Our partnership with Google is an exciting endeavor and truly opens the door to our photography vault, with a reach unlike ever before,” said Dr. Bruce Barnes, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of George Eastman House. “This online exhibition experience allows for high-resolution and high-level research of photographs from our immense archive—revealed and shared with an international community.”
The museum also has worked with Google to be a part of its Google Maps Street View project. Later this year, 360-degree views of the museum’s gardens, grounds, historic house, and vaults will be available online.
Browsing and Saving Made Easy on Google Art Project
Visitors to the Google Art Project can browse works by the artist’s name, the artwork, the type of art, the museum, the country, collections, and the time period. Google+ and video hangouts are integrated on the site, allowing viewers to invite their friends to view and discuss their favorite works in a video chat or follow a guided tour from an expert to gain an appreciation of a particular topic or art collection.
The My Gallery feature allows users to save specific views of any of the artworks and build their own personalized gallery. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole gallery can then be shared with friends and family. It’s an ideal tool for students or groups to work on collaborative projects or collections. In addition, a feature called “Compare” allows users to examine two pieces of art side-by-side, providing a look at how an artist’s style evolved over time or connects trends across cultures and delve deeply into two parts of the same work.
To date, more than 40,000 high-resolution objects are available in the Art Project, part of the Google Cultural Institute, which is dedicated to creating technology that helps the cultural community bring online art, archives, heritage sites, and other material. The aim is to increase the range and volume of material from the cultural world that is available for online exploration. Street View images now cover more than 200 institutions in 40 countries.
Eastman House collection images are also online at Flickr Commons, with the museum being one of the first featured, alongside The Smithsonian and The Getty, in 2007.