About Smarthistory

Recent stats

37 million views of Smarthistory content in 2017
200+ academic contributors
1800+ essays and videos
95,000 YouTube subscribers

What is Smarthistory?

Smarthistory is a leading resource for the study of art and cultural heritage. Our growing collection of videos and essays are designed to be engaging and conversational and cover art that ranges from the paleolithic to the present. Everything on Smarthistory is completely free and our content is offered with no advertising. We are a small non-profit organization based in New York, but we reach millions of learners around the world. Smarthistory has received support from John and Ann Doerr, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, The Terra Foundation for American Art, The Walton Family Foundation, The College Board, Khan Academy, The Google Cultural Institute, and individual donors.

Who is Smarthistory?

Smarthistory is a collaboration of more than 200 art historians, archaeologists, curators and other specialists who want to make the highest-quality art history learning content freely available to a global audience. Contributing editors oversee specific content areas.

Dr. Beth Harris is co-founder and executive editor for Smarthistory and faculty emeritus at Khan Academy. She was the first director of digital learning at The Museum of Modern Art, where she started MoMA Courses Online and co-produced educational videos, websites and apps. Before joining MoMA, Beth was Associate Professor of art history and director of distance learning at the Fashion Institute of Technology where she taught both online and in the classroom. She has co-authored, with Dr. Steven Zucker, numerous articles on the future of education and the future of museums, topics she regularly addresses at conferences around the world. She received her Master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and her doctorate in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Email: beth@smarthistory.org

Dr. Steven Zucker 
is co-founder and executive editor for Smarthistory and faculty emeritus at Khan Academy. He was chair of history of art and design at Pratt Institute where he strengthened enrollment and led the renewal of curriculum across the Institute. Before that, he was dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY and chair of their art history department. He has taught at The School of Visual Arts, Hunter College, and at The Museum of Modern Art. Dr. Zucker is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has co-authored, with Dr. Beth Harris, numerous articles on the future of education and the future of museums, topics he regularly addresses at conferences around the world. Dr. Zucker received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Email: steven@smarthistory.org

Dr. Naraelle Hohensee is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Smarthistory. She is a historian of visual culture, urbanism, and architecture with a Ph.D. in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and an M.A. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. She is also a digital media producer with experience in professional television production, print, interactive multimedia, and web design. Nara’s research interests have to do with the many ways that our visual surroundings in the everyday urban landscape shape our perception of ourselves as individuals and as members of communities. Her dissertation research was on the rebuilding of central Berlin after 1990, and she runs a video and podcast series called Ghost Station where she explores issues related to her scholarship. Nara has taught in a wide variety of settings since 2008, including leading study abroad programs in Berlin and New York, teaching on-campus courses at the City College of New York and the University of Washington, and working with community college and high school students. From 2011 to 2016, she held a staff and part-time lecturer post in the UW Comparative History of Ideas Program. She is also a principal at the design studio Long and Short Creative and a contributing editor for the Art History Teaching Resources website.

Dana Notine is the Manager of Social Media at Smarthistory. Recently graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, Dana’s research explores how digital culture affects the creation and distribution of artworks. Organizations she has worked with include Art21 and the Brooklyn Museum.

A brief history of Smarthistory

Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker started Smarthistory in 2005 to create content for their students. Smarthistory launched its first custom-designed website in 2007 thanks to the vision and support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Since then, Smarthistory has won numerous awards. For example, in 2009 Smarthistory won the Webby award for education and in 2011 Smarthistory was named one of the “Fifty Websites that make the Web Great” by Time Magazine and in 2012,  we received Technical Innovation Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence from the Open Education Consortium.

Our audience of undergraduate and graduate students, high school students, instructors, and informal learners has grown significantly. Between 2011-2015, Smarthistory was supported by Khan Academy. Smarthistory is once again an independent not-for-profit, and remains committed to distributing the highest-quality art history content on multiple platforms, including Smarthistory.org, Khan Academy, YouTube and Flickr. Smarthistory is the official partner to Khan Academy for art history.

In 2015 and again in 2017, Smarthistory received grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand content.

In 2016 Smarthistory content had 35 million views (up 45% from the previous year) and we now have more YouTube subscribers than every U.S. art museum, with the exception of The Museum of Modern Art (and we’re closing in).


Smarthistory has worked with the following institutions, either independently, or as part of Khan Academy:

American Museum of Natural History
Asian Art Museum
The British Museum
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Dulwich Picture Gallery
J. Paul Getty Museum
Google Cultural Institute
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Museum of Modern Art
OER Commons
Portland Art Museum
Smithsonian Institution
World Monuments Fund

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