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Getty Grant to National Gallery of Prague Supports Digitization of Art

One of the Largest Foreign Grants Ever Received by a Czech Cultural Institution

February 8, 1999

Los Angeles, Calif. - The Getty Grant Program has awarded a grant of $180,000 to the National Gallery in Prague to support the "MicroGallery," featuring some 2,000 digitized images of works of art from the National Gallery’s permanent collections. The grant constitutes one of the largest subsidies from a foreign source ever made to a Czech cultural institution.

Upon its completion in 2000-01, the MicroGallery, an interactive computer information system, will allow National Gallery visitors access to art images accompanied by extensive information through touch-screen monitors, with text in Czech and English. The program will be available in all permanent exhibitions of the National Gallery. By providing multilayered information and putting works of art into various contexts, the MicroGallery is designed to enable visitors to develop skills for perception and understanding of art works and to offer new possibilities of experiencing these works. A CD-ROM version of the program will soon be available to elementary and secondary schools for art education.

Since 1996, the MicroGallery has been developed by the National Gallery in Prague with the assistance of the Brighton-based Cognitive Applications Ltd., the authors of similar systems which have been successfully deployed in the National Gallery of Art in London as well as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The current MicroGallery project has been launched with assistance and support from Digital Equipment (Compaq), Microsoft, Neos Computers, and the British Council, all of which continue to be the National Gallery’s partners in the project.

"The Getty Grant Program’s support comes at a critical period," says Ladislav Kesner, director of the project at the National Gallery in Prague. "Due to budget cuts, the National Gallery was no longer able to continue the project from its own resources. The Getty’s grant brings major encouragement and incentive for the National Gallery’s efforts to find new ways of presenting its collections and improving its service." The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic pledged to provide further support for the MicroGallery as part of its support for the "Prague 2000-European City of Culture" initiative.

"We are pleased to be able to add our support to this innovative educational project at the National Gallery of Prague," comments Getty Grant Program Director Deborah Marrow. "It promises to make the museum’s collections accessible in new ways to both Czech and foreign visitors." Adds Deputy Director Charles J. Meyers, "The combination of deep information about the museum’s broad-ranging collections and the sophisticated use of technology make this a model project internationally."

The Getty Grant Program is the philanthropic arm of the J. Paul Getty Trust, and provides crucial support for projects in the areas of art history, museum practice, and conservation, undertaken by institutions and individuals throughout the world. Since its inception in 1984, the Grant Program has awarded over $78 million to support over 1,900 projects in more than 150 countries. Recent grants have supported the scholarly reinterpretation of the classic Maya murals of Bonampak in Chiapas, Mexico and the conservation of the mosaics in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The Grant Program has also supported a number of projects in Central and Eastern Europe: in a six year initiative concluded in 1997, the Grant Program provided acquisition funding for libraries in the region as well as fellowships for individual scholars to conduct art-historical research outside their home countries.

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the understanding and preservation of the visual arts locally and throughout the world. Through strategic grants and programs, the Foundation strengthens art history as a global discipline, promotes the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, increases access to museum and archival collections, and develops current and future leaders in the visual arts. The Foundation carries out its work in collaboration with the Getty Museum, Research Institute, and Conservation Institute to ensure the Getty programs achieve maximum impact. Additional information is available at www.getty.edu/foundation. To learn more, subscribe to the Foundation's e-newsletter by visiting http://www.getty.edu/subscribe/foundation_news/.