Samplers On-line

January 5, 2010

Whether you are an armchair traveler or a needlework researcher, there are several American museums with searchable databases that you will find enjoyable and informative.

You can check out the collection of samplers and girlhood embroideries housed in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Go to http://www.pem.org/artscape and type your search term into the search box. If you type in the word “sampler”, thumbnail pictures of those in their collections would appear. Click on the thumbnail and you will see a larger picture along with information about the piece. Choose which ones you would like to save in your own personal “collection” which is a nice feature.

You can also search the collections of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Go to http://www.imamuseum.org/search and type in your search term in the search box. Again, you will see a thumbnail picture of the needlework and after you click on it you will see a larger photograph as well as read information about it.

The Chicago Art Institute has a large variety of needlework in its’ collection. Go to http://www.artic.edu , click on the Collections tab then click on “search on-line collection”. As with the other websites, you will see a picture of the needlework and read information about it. The database of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City functions in much the same way. Go to http://www.metmuseum.org. Click on Works of Art then Collection Database at which you will be able to search for needlework.

Because it’s not affiliated with just one museum, AMICA (Art Museum Images from Cartography Associates) Library contains a large selection of needlework…376 samplers alone. Overall the library contains over 100,000 works of art from the collections of contributing museums worldwide. Anyone can search the database but a paid subscription is required for the high-resolution version of the photographs. If you are a member of one of the contributing museums you have automatic access. Go to http://www.lunacommons.org/luna/servlet/AMICO~1~1 and type in your search term in the search box located in the top right corner. You will see a picture along with extensive information about the piece. This is an excellent resource for researchers and those who love the story behind the needlework.

Note: The accompanying photograph is courtesy of the searchable database of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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