Expanding art history and architecture on Wikipedia thanks to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has awarded Wiki Education a $25,000 grant to lead a 10-week Wiki Scholars course in the upcoming year that will train scholars in pre-modern European art and architecture how to add their knowledge to a topic deeply underdeveloped on Wikipedia. The Foundation agrees it’s critical that Wikipedia provides accurate, expert, and comprehensive information on art history and architecture for the benefit of museum professionals and art history students, as well as the interested public.

This extensive course will not only disseminate research about pre-modern European art and architecture to a potential audience of millions, but will also train art historians in fundamental, valuable career skills to take forward into all they do in an increasingly digital world. We’ll collaborate with scholarly partners like the Detroit Institute of Arts and address information gaps on Wikipedia related to pre-modern European art and architecture from antiquity to 1830. The quality of these Wikipedia articles varies and there is a strong bias towards Western European work, while Central and Eastern European art and architecture are poorly covered. We aim to bring more balance and diversity to Wikipedia’s coverage in these areas.

Given Wikipedia’s global reach, art institutions are able to connect with audiences in languages and contexts they never could have imagined. Wikipedia has an unparalleled ability to reach audiences around the globe. Averaging 18 billion page views per month, the website is the 7th most visited in the world. Not only that, Wikipedia content has a measurable effect on whether or not tourists plan a visit. Wikipedia drives enjoyment of art as well as learning. And cultural institutions are taking notice.

Take the Met, for example. After adopting an Open Access licensing policy for their images and data, they began reaching 10 million more people per month through Wikipedia – 7 times the reach of their own website. The Smithsonian, SFMOMA, and the Art Institute of Chicago have followed suit with Wikipedia and Wikidata initiatives of their own. All of these incredible organizations have consulted Wiki Education’s expertise and guidance at some point along their Wikipedia/Wikidata journey. Art historians are seeking the skills they need to do this important open access work, and Wiki Education has a successful track record for facilitating experts’ entry into Wikipedia’s editorial world.

We’re currently looking for additional partners to do this exciting work, so if you or your organization is interested in being involved in this initiative, please reach out to jami@wikiedu.org. We’re excited to work with new organizations in this mission and are extremely grateful to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for their generous support as we make Wikipedia better together, for all.

Thumbnail image “The School of Athens” by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, public domain.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.