New York, London, Oslo: art collections at the click of a mouse

One of the most powerful teaching tools available to educators is- for me- art. And one of the wonderful things about being a medical educator is the fact that so many of the world’s great art galleries and museums have- or are in the process of -making their collections freely available on-line. In this posting I’ll tell you about three of my favorite on-line collections in the hope that you’ll share yours with me.

First up is New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The museum’s stated aim is to ‘seek to create a dialogue between the established and the experimental, the past and the present, in an environment that is responsive to the issues of modern and contemporary art, while being accessible to a public that ranges from scholars to young children.’ Importantly, from the perspective of medical educators around the world, the on-line catalogue is accessible in a very practical sense, with a search engine that allows users to identify relevant works of art at the click of a mouse.

To see what I mean, use the advanced search option to search under the following group of terms -doctor ill sick patient nurse- and you’ll be rewarded with links to and a detailed descriptions of 156 potential teaching aids. The first of these- Doctor Giving Massage to Patient with AIDS from The New Provinetown Print Project 1993, by Sue Cole- is enough all by itself to reward the effort.

Another amazing resource available via the MoMA website is the fully searchable DADABASE: the Online Catalog of The Museum of Modern Art Library, Archives and Study Centers.

Closer to home, for me, is the National Gallery Collection. Again, a wonderful searchable on-line catalogue although, without an advanced search, identifying suitable resources is a little more difficult. Nevertheless, searching under ‘death’ came up with 111 suggestions including Hogath’s satirical ‘Marriage A-la-Mode: 6. The Lady’s Death’.

Last but not least amongst my favorite on-line collections is that of the Munch Museum in Oslo.

Not only does this site feature paintings from the collection but also a series of on-line exhibitions. I have many favorites in this collection but ‘Death in the sickroom’ -a powerful depiction of loss and its long term impact on all those affected-is my choice for today.

The on-line collections I’ve recommended necessarily reflect the parts of the world I live in and travel to. So please, share with readers of this blog your favorite on-line collections, so that we can all enjoy them and so that they can enrich all of our teaching and our scholarship.

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