Digital Arts and Crafts Collections Accessible to All
by Kate Nixon
Last week during the virtual Craftsman Gala, the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms announced the launch of two brand new initiatives: a online selection of highlighted works from their in-house collection and their searchable Research Library Online Catalog. The two initiatives are the latest in their mission to educate, engage and inspire diverse audiences, while the museum also highlighted their big reveal of the evening: the newly built Education Center, which they hope will help cement the organization as a center for research and knowledge of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
According to the Director of Collections Jonathan Clancy, accessibility to the museum’s collections is so important for these times for not only collectors and museum supporters, but students of the movement. “The collections website in particular is an exciting project because it allows us to incorporate new discoveries and research in real time, and have multiple, detailed views of the objects,” says Clancy. “Similarly the library catalog brings to light aspects of our collection that have not been well-known to the public and will inspire students, scholars, and fans of the movement to take full advantage of the many resources in the collection.”
The collections are comprised of high definition images for 52 of the museum’s treasured works and log cabin decor. Each image comes with a description and in several cases, closeups of the shopmarks. The items in the collections are searchable by keywords or you can also explore the collections by type (i.e. Ceramics and Glass, Metalware, Original to Craftsman Farms, etc.).
Likewise, the searchable Research Library Online Catalog is an easy reference for students, wanting to search through the museum’s own collection of period catalogs, rare books, and archival materials.. The Stickley Museum’s library collection is focused primarily on the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States and Europe, but also has publications in auction catalogs, the history of design, and American Decorative Arts. Interested scholars can lookup by author, title, subject, and other terms. Clicking images of some of the titles results in previews of the book’s content.
Like many museums and organizations, the Stickley Museum found themselves in a position of looking to a virtual environment to provide content to their supporters. In this new world where making virtual content has been a necessity, Executive Director Vonda Givens says making research available was always part of their mission. “Making our collections more widely accessible has been a long-term goal,” says Executive Director Givens. “We wanted to establish an educational resource for scholars, collectors and casual fans. Since the pandemic and then Tropical Storm Isaias closed our doors onsite, this database has become an especially meaningful way to continue fulfilling our mission.”