Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Ways For Students To Create Their Own Online Art Collections


Many art museum websites offer users the ability to choose favorites from their online exhibitions and create an online exhibition. The best also let you write captions and describe these individualized collections, and then allow you to post the link on a website or blog.

This kind of activity provides lots of language-development opportunities for all levels of English Language Learners. so I thought it would be a good topic for a “The Best…” list.

You can find links to all the sites on this list, and other “art collection” sites that didn’t quite make the grade, on my website under Student Art Collections.

Of course, students can also create collections of art work they’ve have created online. You can find those sites at The Best Art Websites For Learning English.

Here are my picks of The Best Ways For Students To Create Their own Online Art Collections (by the way, all links will take you directly to the “make your own collection” page of the museum). These are not listed in any order of preference, though I do like the last three sites I list a lot:

The Tyne and Wear Museum doesn’t offer that many options of artwork to choose from, but the big advantage is that you don’t have to register to use the activity, either. It highlights paintings from its Love exhibition.

The Seattle Art Museum has a unique kind of activity — students are given sort of a simple (and accessible) art appreciation class as they develop their own collection. The process is a little “clunky,” but it’s a good step-by-step process. You do have to register, but, as with all the other sites on this list that require registration, it can be done in seconds.

The Tate Museum lets you choose from a limited number of paintings, describe your collection, and then email the link.

The Art Institute of Chicago provides over 250 pieces of art to choose from for what they call a “scrapbook.” You have to register, and, like all of these sites that require registration, is slightly more complicated to use than the ones that don’t require you to sign-in. But it’s still quite accessible to English Language Learners.

The Whitney Museum of American Art provides about 60 pieces of art to choose from, and requires a quick registration. It also offers some unique features, including some guided ways to compare and contrast your picks, and to add sound to your personal collection.

My Collection from the Smithsonian American Art Museum is a favorite. You can choose from among 20,000 art objects, and you can display your collection as a slideshow.  Understanding how to use the site isn’t quite as obvious here as it is in the other ones I’ve listed, but it should only take a minute or two to explain to students how it works.

Another favorite that is a bit different is called The Art of Storytelling from the Delaware Art Museum. At this site, you can actually use art from the museum’s collection to create your own storytelling experience. It’s pretty neat, and very accessible.

Creative Spaces is a project of the National Museums Online Learning Project in Great Britain. You can search through nine of the largest British museums can create “notebooks” of different items and describe them. You can also create groups.

Arts Connected Ed is a joint project of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Walker Art Center. After registering, you can easily create your very own “art collection” from the museum’s holdings, make it into a very attractive slideshow, and then post the url address of your creation.

The Google Art Project puts some of the most important art museums, and their collections, online with amazing features, including being able to create your own art collection. I’ve embedded a very short video from the site that shows what it can do — I can’t do justice to it just with words.

ArtFinder is a new web tool that lets you discover new art and build your own virtual collections. You can take a survey identifying pieces of art you like and it will help you discover more like them. You can read more about the site at Read Write Web.

Pictify is a new Pinterest-like site, except only for fine works of art.It seems quite easy to use.

If you found this list helpful, you might want to see the other two-hundred-plus ones, too.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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