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Website Extends Reach of New NY Museum of Modern Art


New York's Museum of Modern Art - known affectionately by its acronym MoMA - is one of the world's premier centers of contemporary painting, sculpture, photography, design, and film. After more than two years in a temporary home, the museum moved back to expanded facilities in Midtown Manhattan this month.

The Museum of Modern Art was established in 1929, in part because the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art wasn't very interested in collecting and displaying works by contemporary artists.

Today, MoMA is a powerhouse in the art world, and Creative Manager Allegra Burnette explains how MoMA.org extends the reach of the museum's new building in New York.

"The website allows us to reach a much larger audience, an international audience, and it allows us to reach that audience at any time of the day or night," said Allegra Burnette. "So for people who are not able to come to New York, we hope that they can get at least a sense of both the collection and the educational programs that we have available."

Not everything on display in the museum can be seen online at MoMA.org, but much of it is there. There are essays on certain works of art - such as a Picasso painting or a Man Ray photograph - and many of the museum's special exhibitions have online counterparts, like one on filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. Putting the museum's collection online, says Allegra Burnette, is an ongoing project.

"We are in fact putting the finishing touches on an online collection project, which will allow us to keep adding to a database of information about the collection, so we are launching in December-January with about 3,000 works, and that will be added to continuously over time," she said.

Another important part of MoMA.org is an extension of the Museum's educational programs. Online activities include "Art Safari," which teaches families how to look at and talk about art; Red Studio, a site for teens where young people interview artists; and audio talks given by artists about their work. For even younger kids - ages 5 to 8 - there's a feature called "Destination Modern Art," designed to give young children a foundation in art appreciation.

"We've created a website for children to allow them to learn about and explore art and the museum," said Allegra Burnette. "We are also interested in making more resources available to teachers online as well."

MoMA.org even has its own online radio station. Programs on one recent schedule included a concert of Hungarian folk music, interviews with filmmakers and artists, and an archival recording of Tennessee Williams reading his 1975 play Outcry.

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