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Update: October 28, 2019 (Original release date: September 13, 2019)

National Gallery of Art Collaborates with Researchers to Analyze Permanent Collection Data

Leo Villareal, 'Multiverse', 2008, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), computer, and electronic circuitry, National Gallery of Art, gift of Victoria and Roger Sant and Sharon P. and Jay Rockefeller

Leo Villareal, Multiverse, 2008, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), computer, and electronic circuitry, National Gallery of Art, gift of Victoria and Roger Sant and Sharon P. and Jay Rockefeller

Presentations are now available and linked below.

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art will be the first American art museum to invite teams of data scientists and art historians to analyze, contextualize, and visualize its permanent collection data. The Gallery's full permanent collection data has been released to six teams of researchers from institutions including Bennington College, Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, George Mason University, Macalester College, New College of Florida, University of California, Los Angeles, and Williams College. Questions from curators, conservators, and researchers will help guide this analysis, and teams are encouraged to pursue whichever avenues of inquiry they find most compelling. The study will culminate in a two-day Datathon during which the teams will finalize their visualizations and present their findings at a public livestreamed event on Friday, October 25, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. The project is led by Lynn Russell, head of education, with Diana Greenwald, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, both of the National Gallery of Art.

The Datathon coincides with other major efforts by the Gallery to make its collection more widely available to the public. The Gallery is in the process of donating 53,000 images of works of art to Wikimedia Commons. This follows the launch in 2012 of NGA Images, which implemented an open-access image policy resulting in nearly 5 million free downloads of publication-quality collection images. With this policy, high-resolution images of permanent collection works believed to be in the public domain are available on to search, browse, share, and download free of charge for any use. NGA Images launched with 20,000 images and now has 53,000 available. The Gallery is also contributing basic collection data on 130,000 works of art to Wikidata, an open data platform developed by the Wikimedia Foundation.

A Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on Saturday, November 16, 2019, will extend the contribution, encouraging participants to focus on prints and drawings and make use of the images of more than 22,000 works on paper from the Gallery's collection that will be donated to Wikimedia Commons. With these efforts, the Gallery continues its commitment to encouraging public engagement with its collection through open cultural heritage efforts.

Event Details

Coding Our Collection: Datathon (recorded live, October 25, 2019)
West Building Lecture Hall
3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Special thanks to the Library of Congress LC Labs and Rare Books Division for facilitating access to Library collections as data for this event.

Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon
November 16, 2019
Library, East Building

Datathon Teams

Team 1
Presentation (PDF 64.8 MB)
Sarah Reiff Conell
PhD candidate, history of art and architecture
University of Pittsburgh

Lingdong Huang
BCSA candidate, computer science and art
Carnegie Mellon University

Golan Levin
Director, Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry; professor of art
Carnegie Mellon University

Matthew Lincoln
Research software engineer
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

Team 2
Presentation (PDF 2.3 MB)
Hannah Jacobs

Digital humanities specialist, Wired! Lab for Digital Art History & Visual Culture
Duke University

Paul Jaskot
Director, Wired! Lab for Digital Art History & Visual Culture; professor of art history
Duke University

Mark Olson
Assistant professor of the practice of art, art history & visual studies
Duke University

Victoria Szabo
Research professor, visual and media studies; program director, information science + studies
Duke University

Edward Triplett
Lecturing fellow in art, art history & visual studies
Duke University

Team 3
Presentation (PDF 1.9 MB)
Paul Albert

Graduate student, art history and computational social sciences
George Mason University

Laurie Meamber
Associate professor of marketing, School of Business
George Mason University

Gautham Vadakkepatt
Assistant professor of marketing, School of Business
George Mason University

Team 4
Presentation (PDF 836.4 MB)
Brianna C. Heggeseth

Assistant professor of statistics
Macalester College

Bernhard Klingenberg
Professor of statistics, Williams College and New College of Florida

Steven Nelson
Professor of African and African American art and director of the UCLA African Studies Center
University of California, Los Angeles
Andrew W. Mellon Professor, 2018–2020, National Gallery of Art

Chad Topaz
Professor of mathematics
Williams College

Team 5
Presentation (PDF 840.2 MB)
Faith Benamy

MS candidate, data science
New College of Florida

Raven McKnight
BA candidate, applied mathematics and statistics
Macalester College

Sofie Netteberg
BA candidate, statistics and global studies
Williams College

Paulina Valdivieso
BA candidate, computer science and public policy
Bennington College

Team 6
Presentation (PDF 3.1 MB)
Emily Ann Francisco

Curatorial assistant, department of modern art
National Gallery of Art

Alexandra Libby
Assistant curator of northern baroque paintings
National Gallery of Art

Shannon Morelli
National Gallery of Art

Sarah Osborne-Bender
Head of library technical services
National Gallery of Art

Benjamin Zweig
Digital projects coordinator
National Gallery of Art


Update: October 28, 2019
Updated to include presentations.

Update: October 3, 2019
Updated to add Lingdong Huang to Team 5.

Press Contact:
Isabella Bulkeley, (202) 842-6864 or [email protected]


General Information

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phone: (202) 842-6353
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Anabeth Guthrie
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Isabella Bulkeley
(202) 842-6864
[email protected]