Summer is the time of lounging and hiding from the heat. Recent museum initiatives to digitize their collections allow one to browse these collections from the comfort of one’s own comfy sofa.
I love this shift towards image availability because it means all kinds of unknown treasures can be easily viewed from home, while in one’s jammies. Besides being excited by what all is out there, there is the fun of flipping through individual collections now online. Then, when I want to venture into the heat of the summer, it’s worth remembering that museums are air conditioned! What is more awesome than a place to look at gorgeous things, learn some stuff, and be cool and comfy? Not much!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art here in NYC has been working hard to digitize some of their lesser-known collections. Here is the link to their fashion plate collection, which has only recently been posted:
The fashion plate above is one housed at the MMA, from summer 1915. Hard to believe that women were wearing such different clothes (and so many!) only a hundred years ago.
The Pierpont Morgan Libary is another local museum that has some terrific and interesting material. They’re putting a lot of it online as well, as you can see here:
They have collected both illuminated manuscripts, like the Crusader Bible shown here, as well as literary items like Jane Austen letters and handwritten musical manuscripts. The other interesting thing about this museum is that it was actually designed as J. P. Morgan’s “study”. Where you or I might have a single room for our treasures, books, papers, artwork, etc., Mr. Morgan built an enormous gorgeous building for this stuff.
Another amazing resource in this city full of them is the New York Public Library system. Besides the fact that they have lending libraries all over the city, they also have been digitizing some of their archives. The catalog for those materials is here:
Here is an image of a dress factory from the NYC garment center:
You can find more details on this image here:
Now get out there and check out some amazing museums and libraries! Or stay at home, and do so from your laptop.