The internet provides new tools for accessing museum collections. Every self-respecting museum has its own collection online. Major players, such as Europeana, try to link collections as much as possible to give a comprehensive view of the variety of cultural heritage. The Google Art Project focuses on a museum’s best-known masterpieces and offers high-resolution images. Websites with a thematic approach that bring together similar collections in a variety of museums and public institutions while adding different layers of content are rare. The thematic cluster sites of the Vlaamse Kunstcollectie (VKC), www.flemishprimitives.eu and www.jamesensor.eu, however, aspire to just that.
In the coming years the VKC plans to elaborate on these kinds of websites and involve collections and curators outside of Flanders. Pascal Ennaert, coordinator of the VKC, is searching for partnerships.
Points of discussion are:
– Do thematic websites have a sustainable place among museum websites, Europeana, Google Art, etc.?
– What are the risks and benefits of combining purely scientific information and popularized information?
– Can such websites serve as a communication and information platform for museum curators and art historians? What is required for such a digital platform?
Pascal Ennaert is a critical but enthusiastic observer of the cultural heritage field. After a brief career as a history teacher, he worked for ten years as an advisor to the Flemish minister of culture. He was responsible for the cultural heritage policy in Flanders and introduced new, well-received legislation affording fresh opportunities for a growing heritage sector. Since January 2010 Pascal Ennaert has been the coordinator of the Vlaamse Kunstcollectie, an umbrella organization for the international objectives of the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten van Antwerpen (KMSKA), the Museum voor Schone Kunsten van Gent (MSK) and the Groeningemuseum in Bruges. He was seminal to the development of the new thematic VKC websites dedicated to James Ensor and to the Flemish primitives. Pascal Ennaert is a member of the CODART Webcom.
Pascal Ennaert has been an associate member of CODART since 2010.