Getting Intimate with the Collection

Visiting online collections is typically a fairly passive experience, with objects often presented according to an institution's internal curatorial structure. At The Art Gallery of NSW we are working to change that experience into one that is engaging, personal and relevant. By far the most visited section of the Gallery’s website, our online collection includes over 30,000 artworks (only 3-5% of which are on display in the Gallery at any time). We know from our analytics that people rarely search using the title of an artwork. Most people access and engage with the collection primarily by searching for an artist they know (in our case artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Brett Whiteley and Margaret Preston top the list) or to a lesser extent they search by medium or where a work originated (such as Chinese painting or Australian photography). With the visitor firmly in mind, we have spent the last couple of years adding a wealth of contextual information - such as biographies and portraits of artists, video, audio and mapping - to provide a sense of the person behind the art as well as the time and place it was created. Another new feature of the Gallery’s online collection is Art Sets and Art Tours – both of which enable people to collect works together in ways meaningful to them, add their own words and images, and share with their own networks. Designed to give people opportunities for a deeper level of engagement with our collection, it has also given us valuable and often surprizing insights into what our works mean to our audiences. With some delight we have discovered that our audiences are endlessly creative when you give them both the permission and opportunity to play. Speaker(s) Session Leader : Brooke Carson-Ewart, Head of Digital Engagement, Art Gallery of New South Wales MCN 2016 Presenting Sponsor: Piction New Orleans, LA