Use Google Art Project as a Teaching Tool

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Those crazy Googlites. Look what they’ve come up with: Google Art Project.

32,470 artworks from museums around the world. You can browse by  collection, search for a specific artist, or just scroll through all of their artworks leisurely. And you can do this with your kid, instead of dragging them onto a 9 hour flight to Rome.

The cool thing I discovered, was that you can zoom waaaaay in on pieces to see the details up close. So all the times you were at a museum and wanted to look at a painting from 1/2 centimeter away are nearly fulfillable. The only difference now is that your kid can’t pull a thread out of a 15th century tapestry. But he can drool on your computer keyboard when he sees this:

Starry Night

The Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh

Then he’ll scream right in your ear that he knows that painting! I love when kids are excited about recognizing artwork.

Look at this:

starry night close up

Yummy close up. Look at those little daubs of paint.


I will be the first to admit that I have the attention span of a child, so this appeals to me very much. I get tired and overwhelmed easily in museums and information overload is a killer. This is such a great way to learn about art at your child’s own pace, so they can really take in a piece of work without distractions. Of course, seeing a favorite piece of art in real life can be a mind blowing experience, but this is a pretty great second.)



Vermeer makes me giddy


Another great thing is that you can also see the piece exactly where it is displayed in the museum, and zoom around like you’re there.

You can create your own collections of favorite pieces and find or make up art projects to go along with them. Or you can simply talk about what you see with your child. Ask them questions about what they see. Anything- simple questions. The idea is to get a dialogue going.


Fränzi in front of Carved Chair, 1910, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

For instance:

Why do you think the person’s face is green?

Who is the person behind her?

Do you like the colors?

Where do you think they are?

No answers are wrong. Kids come with really great answers. They’re honest and they’re talking about art. This is wonderful.



  1. 05/11/2012 / 3:14 pm

    Oh, my oldest will love seeing art up close. Thanks for telling me about this. I had no idea about the Google Art Project.

  2. 05/11/2012 / 9:02 pm

    I didn’t know about it either – now I do – thanks! You are right. Taking kids to a museum ALL DAY can really turn them off art. I am going to have check this out with the kiddies. I wonder if I could bring up pieces on the big TV… I want to try that.

  3. 05/11/2012 / 9:49 pm

    Oh yeah. I hope they update it with lots more artwork soon. It’s easy to get lost in there…

  4. 05/11/2012 / 9:50 pm

    Read this in an excited, shrieking voice: OMG I didn’t even think about plugging this site into the TV!!!!!!!

  5. 05/12/2012 / 2:28 am

    Love this! Engaging kids in art is something the MFA and ICA both do really well but this is great when you are on your own. I had some antsy kids once at the MFA and had them pose like the people in the paintings – it bought me some precious viewing time!

  6. 05/12/2012 / 12:09 pm

    I so love how museums engage kids these days. Posing like the paintings is a great idea! I’ll pass this tip along to my sis, who is a drama therapist.

  7. vanita
    05/12/2012 / 1:37 pm

    this is just fabulous. these Googlites are wicked smart. I can’t wait to show this to my younger teen. she loves art. thank you

  8. 05/12/2012 / 2:32 pm

    Sure! It’s a fun place to get lost- I can’t believe how many cool things they have come up with that people aren’t familiar with.

  9. 05/13/2012 / 4:41 pm

    Fun! The other day in my group reading to the kids an artist was mentioned that I wanted to look up…and I forgot 🙁 This takes the searching out and allows me to show the artist’s work right away.

    Now to go find that artist…

  10. 05/14/2012 / 9:30 pm

    I have been scolded so many times by security guards in museums for leaning in just a tad too close. I wanna see the brushstrokes!

    This is awesome and I am so glad you shared it! Definitely going to use with my son!

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