The Brooklyn Museum Expands Reach and Community Dialogue Via Flickr

In 2006, with support from a METRO digitization grant, the Brooklyn Museum digitized 235 works of art related to the Brooklyn Bridge. This digital collection comprises works of art from the Brooklyn Museum's collections and unique visual materials from the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives. It also includes interpretive essays from the 1983 Brooklyn Museum exhibition catalog, The Great East River Bridge.

The digitized materials include paintings, prints, art and documentary photographs, published visual materials, and three-dimensional objects. Highlights include works by such luminaries as Georgia O'Keeffe, Joseph Stella, Andy Warhol, Consuelo Kanaga, Albert Eisenstaedt, Alexis Rockman, and many others.

To promote the website, the Brooklyn Museum posted notices on Flickr, the popular photo-sharing website and online community. Before long, emails began arriving from viewers eager to share their own images of the Brooklyn Bridge.

In response, the museum created a new Flickr group featuring photographs of the bridge, which now has nearly 200 members and more than 800 images. The museum also created a direct link to its Flickr page through the “Community” menu item on the main page of the Brooklyn Bridge digital collection.

Since then, the reach of the Brooklyn Museum's original online collection has continued to grow, with positive attention from the blogosphere and a feature on 52 Projects, a site about creative projects of all kinds. This ripple effect advances the museum's initial goal of disseminating images of art inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge to the public through the Internet in order to expand the public's knowledge of the bridge and its continuing influence on artists.  

For more information about this project, contact Deborah Wythe, Head of Digital Collections and Services at the Brooklyn Museum, at deborah.wythe@brooklynmuseum.org or at 718-501-6311.

Sam Streed
Author: Sam Streed
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