The Hilbert Museum of California Art has made it easier than ever to view their world-class collection of art, wherever and whenever you are.
The entire museum collection — over 1,200 pieces of California scene painting, American illustration, animation art and more donated to Chapman University by Mark and Janet Hilbert — can now be viewed 24/7 as part of the eMuseum online platform. Eventually, more than 12,000 pieces will be available online via the eMuseum, as the Hilberts continue to make annual gifts of art from their collection to the museum.
EMuseum is the public-facing portion of The Museum System (TMS), a database tool designed to ease administration and curation of museum collections. It is the collections management system used by many major museums around the world, including the Getty Museum, the Frick Collection and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, among hundreds of others. Collections are searchable by artist, medium, dates and keyword. Visitors who choose to create an account can even collect their favorite works in a private gallery.
Each artwork on eMuseum is accompanied by detailed information about the piece, including artist, title, medium, dimensions and who gifted the work to the museum, along with any descriptive passages that provide additional context. Artist pages, which are continually being updated, include biographical information and photos, plus links to websites, social media or relevant articles from around the web.
“Anything we collect on these artists historically we can put on in the database and then online,” says Mary Platt, museum director.
In addition, visitors can view current and past exhibits via the eMuseum portal.
“We have every exhibition we’ve ever had on there,” says Emily Valdez, museum registrar. “We photograph the galleries for our archival purposes during every exhibition and all of that is online, so you can read about it, you can read the didactics that were up at that time and then actually look at the photos of the gallery spaces.”
The new database makes the task of curating exhibits from the collection much easier.
“We are blessed in the fact that the Hilbert Collection is so large and quite comprehensive … Mark has collected art for so long that these are rich collections,” Platt says. ”The Hilbert Museum is grateful to Chapman University for helping make this state-of-the-art collections management system available to us so we can make our art available to art lovers worldwide.”
Since opening in 2016, the Hilbert Museum has established itself as one of the leading art museums in Southern California. It is currently undergoing renovations that will triple its size and is expected to reopen early in 2024. Until then, visitors can see special exhibitions and highlights from the Hilbert Collection at a temporary location at 216 E. Chapman Ave., near Orange Plaza. Visit hilbertmuseum.org for more information.
Chapman’s Escalette Permanent Collection of Art has been available via eMuseum since 2020.