A Smarthistory timeline



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“If you want to learn a little — or a lot … Smarthistory [has] terrific short videos about major artworks and bigger topics within art history….You could lose yourself in these for months, if not years. It’s all easily available online and free.”

Sebastian Smee, “So you’re stuck at home. Here’s a guide to finding great art while in isolation.” The Washington Post, March 18, 2020.


Smarthistory enables thousands of classes around the world to go online as an estimated 80% of schools around the world close.

Smarthistory completes three year project working with 16 museums to funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Alice L. Walton Foundation, learn more here.


Smarthistory content receives 48,000,000 views in 2019


Smarthistory tops 200,000 YouTube subscribers.

Smarthistory receives a second, larger grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for ARCHES (At-Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series).


Smarthistory receives third major, larger, grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to accelerate production of high-quality teaching materials for global art history and to support sustainability.


Smarthistory tops 100,000 YouTube subscribers, more than any art museum except MoMA and Tate.


Smarthistory receives a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for ARCHES (At-Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series).

The Walton Family Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art partner with Smarthistory to increase access to and understanding of American history and art, through Seeing America — a multimedia learning resource for American history and art developed and distributed by Smarthistory together with a consortium of museums.


 Macaulay Family Foundation Smarthistory receives a grant to create a video series on  English cathedral architecture.
 John & Ann Doerr Smarthistory receives a five-year gift to ensure sustainability.


Smarthistory receives second major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to accelerate production of high-quality teaching materials for global art history and to support sustainability.
Ala Smarthistory is an American Library Association Great Websites for Kids pick
youtube-logo-full-color Smarthistory videos on track to reaches 20 million Youtube views.
KVtl_fK_ The Smarthistory videos, which are paired with articles and contributions from more than 200 experts in the field, have elbowed aside traditional textbooks and have become so popular that their content is the first result to appear in Google, after Wikipedia, when one searches “art history.” Tech Tools, Image Libraries Transforming Art History Classes
College_board_logo.svg Smarthistory is an incredibly committed and responsive provider of content for both AP Art History teachers and students. We admire Beth and Steven, SmartHistory’s founders, who have created numerous multimedia resources that focus specifically on the 250 works of art that are the focus of the course.


logo (3) A grant from The Samuel H. Kress Foundation helps Smarthistory launch a new website.
Smarthistory re-established as an independent 501(c)(3). Smarthistory content has 13.5 million views in 2015.
 John & Ann Doerr Smarthistory becomes independent thanks to generous support from John and Ann Doerr
Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 11.50.04 AM “This video shows what ancient Rome actually looked like”

It’s impossible for anyone to see what ancient Rome looked like in all of its splendor, since we’ve failed to invent a time machine. But [this] video, which shows a 3D rendering of Rome in 320 AD, is about as close as we can get.


Smarthistory at Khan Academy receives Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant “to support an initiative to accelerate production of high-quality teaching materials for global art history made available through Khan Academy’s Smarthistory platform.”
ARLISNA_RGB300 “Information professionals might recommend this resource to users who seek an accessible introduction to certain artists, works, time periods or themes. The interactive elements could suit flipped classroom techniques, online courses, or independent scholarship as well. Museum curators, educators, and librarians may appreciate how entries contextualize works of art in their museum settings. Its popularity indicates that art history, open access, and digital learning are indeed compatible concepts. This is likely just the beginning for pedagogical models that are less dependent on traditional formats and publishing structures.” Review
youtube-logo-full-color Smarthistory videos reach 10 million YouTube views in November


imgres “Smarthistory has been able to harness the power of social networking and the crowd to grow from a $25,000 grant to a multi-million user web platform.”


logo (2)  
Technical Innovation Award for OpenCourseWare ExcellenceThe 2012 Technical Innovation Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence has been given to Smarthistory.org for outstanding presentation of humanities content. Smarthistory uses conversation and multimedia to make art history accessible and meaningful. The site employs Flickr and on-site video to re-locate artwork in its historical and contemporary contexts.
The_Huffington_Post_logo “Is Smarthistory the Art History Textbook of the Future?” (Huffington Post, Sept. 5, 2012)

Harris and Zucker are the innovators behind Smarthistory, which bills itself as a “multimedia web-book about art.” They believe that Smarthistory can involve and inform students with video “conversations” that allow the passionate, subjective side of art history to shine though in a way that traditional textbooks, with their authoritative and singular viewpoints, do not allow.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.36.17 PM Smarthistory at Khan Academy receives a grant from The Google Cultural Institute, and contributes more than 100 videos to the Google Art Project.
youtube-logo-full-color Smarthistory videos reach one million YouTube views


Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 7.09.13 AM Time Magazine: 50 Websites That Make the Web Great

Smarthistory focuses on art history, from cave paintings to Warhol. And while the site calls itself a textbook, it’s not the text—or even the illustrations—that make it special. It’s the growing library of videos that feature spirited, unscripted conversations among historians about notable works. You can start in ancient times and work your way forward or browse the collection by artist, theme or medium. 

kickstarter-logo-light Smarthistory is the Kickstarter “project of the day;” exceeds funding goal with 268 backers
daily-news-logo “Art historians launch website with videos of masterpieces” (Daily News, Feb 5, 2011)

Two Brooklyn-based art historians are looking to blow the dust off a stuffy subject with their chatty Web videos on museum masterpieces.

1EbSpOJGxu5ej2ZcULo4FQ-smaller_logo Khan Academy begins support for Smarthistory

Smarthistory at Khan Academy establishes partnerships with The American Museum of Natural History, The Asian Art Museum, The British Museum, The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and Tate.

cc.logo.large Case Study: “Smarthistory is a high-quality, interactive resource surveying the history of art from the Paleothic era to the present day. Founded by two professors, all Smarthistory content is openly available under Creative Commons.”
brain-pickings Democratizing Art History: 6 Smarthistory primers from the Byzantine empire to Rembrandt, or what web video has to do with democratizing art. By Dan Coleman, Open Culture


NMCAlogoELI_103X103 Smarthistory is identified in The New Media Consortium/EDUCAUSE Horizon Report as expected to have a “large impact on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry on college and university campuses within…one year or less.”



Smarthistory wins the Webby Award for Education (5-word speech)
logo (3) The Samuel H. Kress Foundation supports a collaboration between Smarthistory and the Portland Art Museum


Gold Award, AVICOM (International Committee for Audiovisual and New Technologies of Image and Sound), International Council of Museums
logo (3) A grant from The Samuel H. Kress Foundation supports Smarthistory’s first custom website.


Beth & Steven record the first Smarthistory audio about Renoir’s Two Young Girls at the Piano (1892) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art



Cite this page as: Smarthistory, "A Smarthistory timeline," in Smarthistory, April 30, 2016, accessed April 3, 2020, https://smarthistory.org/timeline-press-awards-and-supporters/.