Personalized tracking system for artworks in the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection

Idea: a site where you can make your own list of artworks from the Art Institute of Chicago 

You can include both artworks on display, and artworks in storage.

For the artworks in storage, whenever they become on display in the museum, you get an email notification. Conversely, if an artwork is on display but then taken down, you’d get a notification for that, too.

This would be a site that informs you when your favorite artworks get put up and taken down.

This idea came to me through a correction to one of my blog posts about art. Someone online informed me I had the wrong artist listed for a post on I was writing about a particular print. But I didn’t know the print was based on a painting! In the blog post, I listed the name of the printmaker, not the artist who did the original painting. Lo and behold, the Art Institute owns the original painting, AND they have it on display!

This revelation makes me want to go to the Art Institute and see this painting. That’s where I got the idea—to make a list of all the artworks I want to see at the Art Institute. So next time I visit the museum, I have a handy bullet list of items to see.

As long as I’m making a list of artworks to see, I might as well include my other favorite artworks not on display. Because someday, those might become available.

Making this list would be a ton of fun.

I’ve written 99 blog posts about the Art Institute of Chicago. I could comb through all those posts, and include all the artworks mentioned. There’s probably at least 200 artworks. With this tracking list, I could be notified when any of them can be seen in person.

It has the extra benefit of sharing this list of artworks with other people to discover pieces they never knew were in the Art Institute’s collection.

This concept isn’t just about bridging the gap between art enthusiasts and the physical museum; it’s about creating a personalized museum experience that transcends geographical and physical limitations. This digital platform would not only alert users about the display status of their favorite artworks but also serve as a dynamic archive of their personal art journey.

I know a system like this is possible for me to create, because the Art Institute has an API open to anyone to query information about their artworks. I could write a program that stores custom lists of artworks. Every day, the program would check the Art Institute’s database about the display status of each artwork. 

By leveraging the Art Institute’s technological infrastructure, we can craft a platform that not only connects art enthusiasts with their beloved artworks but also fosters a deeper, more interactive engagement with art itself.

What do you think?

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3 months ago

I think this sounds great! I’d take advantage of it.

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