About Smarthistory

Smarthistory at Khan Academy is the leading open educational resource for art history. We make high-quality introductory art history content freely available to anyone, anywhere. Smarthistory is a platform for the discipline where art historians contribute in their areas of expertise and learners come from across the globe. We offer more than 600 videos and hundreds of articles and these are being translated into dozens of languages. Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker created Smarthistory and are the Executive Editors. Videos are also available on Khanacademy.org and the Khan Academy app. Khan Academy is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.

About our Merger with Khan Academy
Smarthistory joined Khan Academy in October 2011.  Our missions are perfectly aligned—we are all working toward a “free world-class education for anyone anywhere.” Thanks to this partnership, Steven and Beth work on Smarthistory full-time.

Why We Made Smarthistory
We created Smarthistory in 2005 to provide a richer learning experience than was possible with existing resources. Traditional textbooks are prohibitively expensive for many and do not take advantage of the digital technologies that are reshaping education. For example, textbooks often use only a single image to represent a work of art, they speak with an authoritative but impersonal voice, and they rarely incorporate the many valuable resources that universities, libraries and museums make available. We built Smarthistory to emphasize the experience of looking at art by using unscripted conversations recorded in front of the work of art whenever possible, by incorporating numerous images and video, and by curating links to high-quality resources on the web.

A Short History of Smarthistory
We began Smartistory in 2005 by creating a blog featuring free audio guides in the form of podcasts for use in The Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Soon after, we embedded the audio files in our online survey courses. Student response was extremely positive. We next organized our growing library of content in chronological order using art-history classifications. Thanks to a generous grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, we were able to create the customized site you see today.

Looking Ahead
We hope that more art historians will contribute essays or audio conversations in their areas of expertise and that together, we can create an outstanding, free resource for teaching and learning the history of art.

This work is an open educational resource and This work is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.