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The Museum is excited to announce a 2017 Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This two-year grant supports the Japanese Print Initiative, which will create online access to the Museum’s collection of almost 3,000 traditional and modern Japanese prints, books, and portfolios. Comprising rare traditional prints and one of the most comprehensive collections of modern Japanese prints in North America—including perhaps the largest concentration of prints by women printmakers—the Museum’s collection remains largely hidden since the bulk of it is unavailable online.

Support for the Japanese Print Initiative includes capital upgrades to the Museum’s photography studio, which will enable PAM to achieve international imaging standards for works of art. The Museum will now be able to create and share images of Japanese prints that expose new levels of detail—including small and nearly indistinguishable features that are otherwise only visible by examining the work in person. The Museum plans to release these images under an open access policy, allowing users to download beautiful, hi-res images of public domain artworks on the Museum’s Online Collections website for educational use, enjoyment, and study.

Collections and Exhibitions Photographer, Ben Cort, photographing a Japanese screen from the collection of Mary and Cheney Cowles with Japan Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art, Jeannie Kenmotsu, Ph.D.Collections and Exhibitions Photographer, Ben Cort, photographing a Japanese screen from the collection of Mary and Cheney Cowles with Japan Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art, Jeannie Kenmotsu, Ph.D.

Over the next two years, Museum staff will complete this large-scale digitization effort alongside scholarly research and cataloging. IMLS support for the Japanese Print Initiative complements a recent grant from the Japan Foundation to hire Dr. Jeannie Kenmotsu as Japan Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art. Dr. Kenmotsu brings expertise in both traditional and modern Japanese prints and, working under the supervision of Curator of Asian Art Dr. Maribeth Graybill, will perform original research to comprehensively catalog this important collection. A truly collaborative project, the Japanese Print Initiative will involve the hard work and expertise of several Museum departments, including Curatorial, Library and Collections Information, Collections Management, PR and Marketing, Conservation, and Information Technology. The end result of this cross-departmental initiative will be an online resource that is accessible and enjoyable for scholars, students, print enthusiasts, and public audiences worldwide.

Suzuki Harunobu, Little Peachling: Calendar print for 1765, 1765, yoko chūban nishiki-e (color woodblock print), The Mary Andrews Ladd Collection, public domain, 32.93The Museum owns the only known impression of this print by Suzuki Harunobu. Little Peachling: Calendar print for 1765, 1765, color woodblock print, The Mary Andrews Ladd Collection, public domain, 32.93

The Japanese Print Initiative is the latest in a series of ongoing physical and digital initiatives to make the Museum’s collections more accessible. Recently, the Museum completed similar projects to create online access to approximately 13,000 works from its world-class collections of Northwest and Native American art; these collections are now available to browse on the Museum’s Online Collections website. PAM is extremely grateful to IMLS for their continued support of major mission-driven initiatives, including digitization of the Native American Art Collection, improved storage for Asian artworks, and funding for Object Stories and the Center for Contemporary Native Art.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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