The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: A Resource for History and Fine Arts Teachers

Hey folks, I’d like to start off with a thanks to Richard for letting me gush about a resource my students and I use extensively in our Art History and West Civ classes.

The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is not only one of my favorite resources on the Net, but is also one of a trio of sites (along with BBC History and the ever-democratizing Wikipedia) that I’ve turned to in my move over the last two years to ditch textbooks from my classroom.

According to the Met:

The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, funded by the Heilbrunn Foundation, New Tamarind Foundation, and Zodiac Fund, is a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world, as illustrated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. The Metropolitan Museum’s curatorial, conservation, and education staff research and write the Timeline, which is an invaluable reference and research tool for students, educators, scholars, and anyone interested in the study of art history and related subjects. First launched in 2000, the Timeline now extends from prehistory to the present day.

The site is broken down into four basic parts. The first — World Maps — organizes art and history by region.

The second part breaks it down according to a series of timelines beautifully integrated with artworks, regional maps, and scholarly essays.

The third section features thematic and contextualizing essays — a must for any history teacher who wants to get out of the rigmarole of a chronologically based curriculum.

Lastly come the indexes of artworks. And these are powerful tools both for preparing lessons as well as providing an authoritative reference for on-the-fly image finding and analysis of the sort that often arises (especially in the Art History classroom).

I’d argue that museum websites of this caliber are to images what Google Earth is to maps. And I’d fully encourage all History and Fine Arts teachers to check out the Heilbrunn Timeline and think about ways it might help transform your classroom.

And as you do come up with ideas, please share them with my History students… visit our class wiki and leave ideas, comments, questions, and connections for us. We look forward to learning with all of you!

— Shelly Blake-Plock


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!