Lowe Collections Now Online

The Lowe Art Museum has electronically catalogued nearly half its collection into an online database.

By Peter E. Howard
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 11, 2013) — In addition to visiting the Lowe Art Museum to view its permanent collections, you can now explore the artwork through a searchable online database.

The museum, part of the University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences, has catalogued nearly 8,200 items in the database, which includes information on each work such as title, artist, period, type of artwork, description, and path of ownership. Objects are searchable by artist, materials, geographic region and other methods.

The online gallery is expected to be used extensively by students researching class projects and assignments, and by faculty utilizing it in course work. But, it is also available to the public, making it a resource for art enthusiasts far and wide.

“This has been a goal of ours for quite some time,” said Kara Schneiderman, assistant director of the museum. “We have these amazing collections and people should know that they are here and should be able to see them at the Lowe or online.

“The system has a lot of flexibility and it’s easy to use,” she said.

Schneiderman and her team have been cataloguing the items for the past several years, and just recently launched the virtual gallery at emuseum.miami.edu. Each item is photographed, and associated data is checked and rechecked. The team hopes to have all art items – 18,799 in all – catalogued and entered into the online system by the spring.

At any given time, the Lowe Art Museum displays about 6 to 8 percent of its permanent collections.

Geographic collections that are currently all online include: Central and South American; Egypt and the Near East; North American; Caribbean; and Native North American. The following collections are expected to be added by early next year: African; Asian; European; Ancient American; Native Central/South Americas; and Ancient Mediterranean.

“One of the benefits of this is that it provides access to collections that are in storage,” said Schneiderman.

Schneiderman and Raymond Mathews, communications specialist for the museum, said that in the new system faculty can create unique packages of art tailored to specific courses. The new system should enable faculty to make better use of the permanent collections, and those artworks in storage.

“There are a lot of creative ways departments are using the collections,” said Mathews. “This drives interaction with the museum, but it’s not a substitute to visiting the museum.”

Peter E. Howard can be reached at 305-284-8085.

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