Google’s Arts & Culture site is a large and growing fast collection of high resolution photographs of artifacts on display at more than 1200 of the world’s great museums and cultural archives.
From the paintings of van Gogh and Banksy to photographs of Lincoln and Kennedy to Street Views of Angkor Wat and the Eiffel Tower, you’ll find a wealth of material here for teachers to use in their instruction, and students to use in their projects.
Of course Google makes it easy to search the entire collection. But it is also possible to assemble and share collections of just the materials you want to use. The rest of the page will explain just how to do that.
To continue you will need to be logged into a Google account since the collections you’ll be creating will be associated with that user name. I’m not sure if this will work with all school district accounts so you may need to check with your Google administrator if what you see differs from these directions.
Before you can create a Collection you’ll need to add some artifact pages to your Favorites. To do that, open the page for the item you want to include and click the heart in the upper right corner. The process will probably be easier if you do all your research and favoriting before continuing since at the time this was written, there is no way to add multiple artifacts to your Favorites.
Once you have a good set of items you want to use in this Collection (you can always add more later), go to Favorites under the hamburger menu in the upper left corner of any Arts & Culture page.
The top part of this page is where you’ll see the Collections you’ve already created. Since you probably have none at this point, you’ll only see the square titled Create a new collection. Click it.
On the next page you’ll see all of your Favorites, with the most recent additions at the top. Click the circle in the upper left corner of each to select it for this collection.
When you’re finished, click Next in the upper right corner. Don’t worry about being complete. You can always add more to this collection, or remove items, later. You can also include any item in more than one Collection.
On the next page, give this Collection a name and a description. You can also choose whether to make this Collection public.
If you make it public, anyone searching Arts & Culture for keywords in your title or description may be able to find and view the Collection. If you don’t make it public, however, you also cannot share the page with your students. Unlike other Google documents, sharing a collection does not allow another person to edit, only view.
When ready, click Finish at the top right corner.
To share your Collection with students or others, simple give them the URL of that page.
To edit a Collection, return to your Favorites page and in the top section, click on the Collection you want to change. On the next page, click the pencil below the title and description. (The trash can will permanently delete the Collection.)
On the next page, click the + in the upper right corner to add items to this Collection. This will show your Favorites, again with the most recently added at the top, and the items already in this collection will show a check mark in the circle in the upper left corner. To select the items you want to add, click the circle. Click Next when finished.
To remove an item, return to editing the Collection and click the circle on each. This will dim the image to show that it has been selected for removal. When ready, click Save. To leave without editing anything, click the X in the upper left corner.
Your Favorites and Collections can also be viewed and edited on your tablet or phone using the Chrome browser. Even better, download and use the free Arts & Culture app.
Although Collections is a wonderful addition to the Arts & Culture site, there are a couple of nice-to-have features that are still lacking.
Currently there is no way to reorder the items in your Collection or in your favorites. You are also not able to favorite entire exhibits or the Street View links that are included in some exhibits. Hopefully, these features will be added in the future.