I am a big fan of the Google Cultural Institute; it’s an amazing repository of Artistic Masterpieces, Wonders of the Natural World, Historical Artifacts, and more. By using it as a repository of digital materials, it’s an easy way to access cultural content from around the world in my classroom. I can pull up a high definition image of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and use its powerful zoom features so that students can see the impasto brush strokes. We can explore the Street Art of Sao Paulo with a Google Street View for a unit on modern art or the Ruins at Angkor Wat when covering a unit on Ancient History.
Originally, the Google Cultural Institute was limited to the robust Google Art Project, but it has since expanded to incorporate a variety of tools to explore culture, art, and history from around the world. One of my favorite additions has been Historic Moments, which allows students to “explore online exhibitions detailing the stories behind significant moments in human history.”
What I especially like is that it provides more advanced material for Honors, AP and even college students to perform sophisticated and in depth research on cultural and social phenomena around the world. For example, students could explore the Women of the 1932 Revolution in Brazil, the Establishment of the United Arab Emirates, or the Presidency of Nelson Mandela to extend a research project or gain a different perspective. The various exhibits include images, video, documents, historical events, and more. The collection is expanding regularly as more museums and institutions contribute, making it an excellent resource for teachers of Social Studies, Art History, Government, and more.
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