Frick Museum Partners With Google To Share Collection Online

Mar 11, 2016

Students from Sterrett Classical Academy visit the Frick Museum to learn how to navigate the Google Cultural Institute.
Credit Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA News

Henry Clay Frick’s fine art collection became open to the public decades ago. Now, that access goes much further than an in-person visit.

Thursday, Pittsburgh's Frick Museum launched its partnership with Google. 

The Google Cultural Institute is like the world’s biggest museum – but it’s all housed online. From Monet’s water lilies to street art, anyone can access high-resolution images and curated collections.

Now, 150 paintings, sculptures and artifacts from The Frick Museum can be seen there, too. Robin Nicholson has been the museum’s director since 2014.

“One of the challenges I faced coming in was hearing The Frick constantly referred to as a hidden gem," Nicholson said. "I like the word gem, but it’s the word 'hidden' I’m not enthusiastic about.”

Nicholson said he hopes being Google’s first partner in Pittsburgh will increase notoriety for the collection, and even inspire people to visit.

The City of Pittsburgh's Chief Innovation and Performance Officer Debra Lam joined the museum for the launch. 

“For centuries, arts and culture was something that was privileged, and a luxury for those that could afford it," Lam said. 

Lam said this project will go far towards closing economic and geographic gaps, allowing anyone across the globe, or even just across town, to access the Frick’s fine art collection.

Regular Frick visitor Chase Barney is a sixth grader at nearby Sterrett Classical Academy. He said monthly trips to the museum with his class are special. 

“I don’t see a lot of these paintings every day, when I go other places,” Barney said. 

Barney said he might even share the website with his family at home.