Distance learning and online classes are causing a revolution in our schools. No longer dependent only upon the resources within the school’s physical walls, students can now learn from experts outside their schools at any time, and teachers can access professional development from organizations that are hundreds of miles away. Art museums have a chance to be direct providers of content to students, and are no longer limited to reaching students from their immediate region.

Recognizing how diverse distance learning delivery methods and techniques can be, Crystal Bridges has embarked on a multi-faceted approach to understand the current landscape of distance learning in art museums, as well as to envision the future. Within this website, you will find a literature review, conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Research on Rural Education, which examines the history of distance learning programs offered by art museums, current initatives, and future possibilities. The literature review was compiled through research in publications, qualitative interviews, and the convening of representatives from art museums and organizations from throughout the country at the Distance Learning Summit.

Held in July 2013, the Summit hosted more than 40 representatives from museums and other institutions across the country at Crystal Bridges. A diverse array of programs were presented in a case-study format to examine current trends in the field. Following the case studies, participants envisioned the future of distance learning, with the help of a visual facilitator.

This website is intended to be a resource for you as you embark on your distance learning intiatives. It is also intended to be a place to capture innovative ideas and experiments in online learning. The wiki space enables anyone to post new projects, put forward collaborations, or seek advice from others. Distance Learning offers art museums a unique opportunity to directly create and deliver content to students, to cross institutional boundries, and reach students we never thought possible. Imagine what we can accomplish together!