A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn about arts and humanities, their role throughout history, and their influence on culture and civilization. Kids can see painting, sculpture, photography, and architecture from around the globe and throughout the ages as it's described, explained, and discussed. Easily searchable, Smarthistory provides clearly defined visual timelines that help kids visualize the evolution of art and history. Kids can develop a better understanding and appreciation of different cultures as they see the art that each has produced. Smart history is a living, growing museum of art history that's accessible, engaging, and easy to use.
A love of learning, an appreciation of art, and its influence on history (and vice versa) is fostered throughout.
Violence & Scariness
Art spans the ages, from ancient civilization through contemporary society, so there are bound to be images that depict violence in various forms.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Paintings and sculptures frequently feature nude subjects, sometimes in various embraces. Text explaining art and its historical relevance occasionally includes colorful, descriptive language that some may consider inappropriate.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Smarthistory is a multimedia web-book from the nonprofit Kahn Academy that's led by two of its accomplished deans of Art and History. The site's mission is to work toward a free world-class education to anyone anywhere by offering an abundance of no-cost multimedia content designed to go beyond the classroom and the basic art history text book. The site is cleverly designed, easily searchable, and highly academic. With rich text, an historical timeline, and hundreds of art images (painting, photography, sculpture, architecture, and more), it's accessible to all ages but probably appeals to older teens, college students, educators, museum-goers, home-schoolers, and those with a specific interest in history and art through the ages. As with all art, there is the potential for some nudity and violent images.
Is It Any Good?
Art history can be a somewhat static topic in a school setting, but Smarthistory brings it to life in a way only the Internet can. Its smart, searchable structure lets kids, parents, and educators choose a time period (ancient cultures, industrial revolution, baroque), style (Babylonian, cubism, dada), or artist (from Jean Arp to Frank Lloyd Wright) and discover the story and images related to each. The essays, videos, and images give a glimpse into the paintings, sculpture, and architecture of the time and work together wonderfully to explore how art describes history and history informs art. Links to additional sites lead visitors to museums, essays from professors, and similar artwork, all designed to provide relevant, supplemental information and aid learning. Although the language leans toward the college- or high school-aged student, younger kids could gain a good grasp of art history by browsing through the timeline and images.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.