Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Athenaeum is back!

 It appears that The Athenaum database of artworks is finally back online.

Many readers will recall I've been a big fan of this HUGE art history resource of public domain images in the past and frequently referenced it when writing about various artists of the past. 

It started back in 2001 and sadly went offline in April(?) 2020. 

I then wrote Goodbye to the Athenaeum Art Database? after it seemed to have disappeared and was only available via the Internet Archive

Thanks to Debra Levie for alerting me to the fact that it was back online.
The Athenaeum is a free, user-built online portal for art and the humanities. You can browse over 100,000 artworks by thousands of artists, or join us and help improve the site!
Home Page of The Athenaeum

Looking at the Internet Archive it appears as if it came back late last year.

However due to the fact that the website does not have a security certificate - and is prefixed by http rather than https - some people (including me) will have problems accessing it via the  Google Chrome browser as this browser basically stops access to sites which are not secure. It's part of their process of keeping people safe on the Internet. 

(PS If you're not using a security certificate and the https prefix for your website you need to!)

I found it much easier to access using my Apple Safari browser. I've not tried others but my experience is that if a website is not accessible via Chrome - or only very slowly.

We still don't know what happened to The Atheneaum in 2020. I think most of us assumed that the owner was ill and/or preoccupied with other matters and/or ran foul of an allegation of copyright infringement and/or just got very tired of technical problems and spammers (it happens a lot to big sites which have been up for some time).

Somebody who wrote to me following my blog past knew the email addresses of the owner but said that neither were getting a response.

I'm going to suggest that if the owner ran into financial problems hosting it - or just got very tired of technical problems - that they should maybe consider:

  • having a digital donations box on the site (but this needs a security certificate!) I know a lot of people very much value the site and would like to keep it going....
  • asking / looking for support in terms of both volunteers for forum moderation and technical aspects of the site
I know I'm very pleased to see it back - and I know a lot of other artists and those interested in art history will be too.

PS I still want to know who rocsdad is!! His contributions over the years have been amazing!

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