Princeton University Art Museum Receives Major Grant from IMLS in Support of Collections Discovery and Access

DISTRIBUTED ON October 7, 2016

Museum’s Asian art collections to be made substantially more accessible to scholars and the public
PRINCETON, N.J. – The Asian art collections at the Princeton University Art Museum will be highlighted for search and discovery thanks to a $150,000 Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This IMLS grant will support the Museum’s ongoing Collections Discovery Initiative and is designed to ensure that Princeton’s Asian art collections – widely considered among the premier collections of Asian art in the United States – can be shared with the broadest possible audiences, especially with scholars and researchers. The grant will allow the Museum to enhance and standardize the cataloging of its Asian art holdings, develop rich educational materials and restructure its award-winning Asian art microsite into an in-depth sustainable resource with an innovative new interface.
During the two-year grant period, from Nov. 1, 2016, to Oct. 31, 2018, the Museum will make available on its website high-quality images and information for all of its Asian art objects – nearly 13,000 in total – and extended content, including exhibition histories, bibliography, interpretive content, curatorial descriptions, geo-referencing and subject tags, for over 1,500 prioritized works of art. Images and core data from the Museum’s Asian art collections will also be made available digitally via other platforms, including the ARTstor Digital Library. The processes developed as part of this grant will establish a road map for curators for the future cataloguing of new acquisitions as well as for adding new research developed through collections installations, exhibitions, publications and programs once the two-year grant period is complete.
“The generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services is a critical element in enabling us to expand access to and promote the study of our collections, and particularly holdings as important as our Asian collections,” said James Steward, the Nancy A. Nasher-David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director. “Making every object in our care more accessible to all is an essential museum priority.”
The Princeton University Art Museum began collecting Asian art in the 1880s, and its Asian art holdings are renowned worldwide for their range, rarity and quality. Among the many highlights are Chinese paintings and calligraphy that rank among the finest outside Asia; Japanese Neolithic ceramics; and works from Korea, India, Southeast Asia and Central Asia.
From 2010 to 2015 the Museum conducted a collections-wide inventory, through which it created digital images for every object in its collections. In 2015 the Museum launched its five-year Collections Discovery Initiative to create open access to the scholarly documentation of its collections through continued cataloging, conversion of data from analog to digital, publishing of linked open data, and the development of dynamic search and knowledge contribution tools.

# # #

About the Princeton University Art Museum

With a collecting history that extends back to the 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, with collections that have grown to include over 97,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe.

Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. Intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, the Museum offers a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

The Princeton University Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.

About IMLS
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.


# # #

Please direct image requests to Erin Firestone, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, Princeton University Art Museum, at (609) 258-3767 or