Case Studies/Smarthistory

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License Used
Image, Text, MovingImage, InteractiveResource
art history, OER


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Smarthistory is a high-quality, interactive resource surveying the history of art from the Paleothic era to the present day. Founded by two professors, all Smarthistory content is openly available under Creative Commons. isn't your grandmother's art history website and it has little in common with the slide lectures of yore that many of us aging art historians remember so, ahem, fondly. Since 2005, Harris and Zucker, along with a whole host of contributors, have brought art history to life through audio, video, and still imagery paired with witty text, all of which employ a personal voice that is meant to ignite a conversation rather than issue a definitive explanation. — Rebecca Taylor, Senior Communications Specialist at the Getty Trust [1]


Smarthistory is an online, interactive art history resource designed to enhance art history education by complementing or replacing the traditional textbook. Smarthistory contains text, images, and video, organized in various interactive formats, and is available for free under CC BY-NC-SA.

See Smarthistory's Open Ed 2010 proposal for more information.

License Usage

Smarthistory is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.


Dr. Beth Harris, co-founder of and Director of Digital Learning at a NYC museum, writes,

"I think we all know textbooks need a makeover. For the past fifty years, introductory art history courses have been supported with a comprehensive textbook that has grown increasingly unwieldy and expensive. The standard art history textbook in the US now contains over 1100 pages and costs more than $150. We all know students don’t read much of the textbook, and they don’t retain much of what they do read... In 2005, we created — a free and open, creative-commons licensed, multimedia web-book as a dynamic enhancement or substitute for the traditional art history text. has grown into a proven, sustainable, and inexpensive model for open educational resources in the Humanities."


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