The Carter Blog
Exploring the Carter collection online
Apr 19, 2021
The Carter has tens of thousands of objects in its art collection, and even more in the archives. It’s easy to be overwhelmed—I was when I first arrived! During our recent website redesign, an immediate priority was to develop a way for online visitors, from casual art lovers to dedicated researchers, to find what they were looking for, and I got to be part of the team who designed it.
Some things about museum collections online are standard, including search bars, sort options, and filters, similar to what we all use when we’re online shopping. But, of course, filtering art isn’t the same as filtering shoes! Our filter options are just under the search field on our collection page, and they’ll help you decide whether you want to focus on a specific time period or type of art or archives.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search results, sorting can put them in lots of different orders, including by title or date it was created. Two checkboxes found under filters (or, if you’re using a desktop, near the search bar) sort results to give even more specialized results. The one called “On view” will show you only works that are currently displayed at the Carter, especially useful if you’re planning a trip to the museum.
The other option, “Has Educator Resource,” is specific to the Carter. We have an amazing team of educators who have created hundreds of resources about our artworks and are continually developing more! These resources are available to everyone but are especially geared toward educators working with students from preschool through high school.
Maybe you’ve found a specific artwork you want to spend more time with. Once you get to that artwork’s page, there’s a lot to discover! Let’s take a look at our beloved painting Parson Weems’ Fable by Grant Wood.
The page contains rich details about the artwork beyond the artist and the title. You may see information about the work’s date, materials (“medium”), size (“dimensions”), and anything written on its front (“recto”) or back (“verso”). On some artwork pages you’ll also find a short text and a list of exhibitions the work has been in at the Carter (you can learn more about these by clicking on them). Below that is where you’ll find Educator Resources, including questions and related activities to help students understand the work.
If you want to go exploring from here, there are so many places you can go! You could look at other works by Grant Wood by clicking on his name after “See more by.” Or you could find other works we’ve identified as having similarities by clicking on the keyword links in gray boxes: Maybe you want to see more art labeled “Cherry trees” or more work that includes “George Washington”? Finally, at the bottom of the page you’ll find related works as identified by an algorithm. These might include some surprising connections and end up taking you on paths that you didn’t expect!
A collection is a living thing that all of us at the museum are dedicated to caring for. One way we do that is by continually researching our works and updating the information as we discover new things. We hope you’ll spend some time with the works of art we love so much—and contact us if you have any questions, want to reproduce the art elsewhere, or spot anything we need to update!