Arts of the Islamic World (AIW) is a not-for-profit secular public education initiative with a mission to reach and educate a wide audience about Islamic culture through its cosmopolitan artistic heritage—over fourteen centuries of cultural expression from across a wide geographical expanse stretching from Europe to Asia.
The creation of the AIW virtual museum represents the initiation of this mission. This powerful new tool delivers an enhanced understanding of the Islamic world with a comprehensive online resource that aggregates multiple collections of Islamic art (both public and private) in one place, presents context and perspective on the whole of the collection, and enables easy interaction with the art and the ideas it represents.
Working in collaboration with private collectors, major museums, foundations and universities, AIW offers global audiences a central resource for Islamic art and culture by providing information about Islamic arts and culture in various media: digital images of diverse art work complemented by traditional museum didactics as well as essays, podcasts, and audiocasts by leading experts, documentary films and relevant scholarly materials. This platform will additionally serve as a means of creating a dynamic online community.
The virtual museum is designed to serve the needs of a diverse audience, ranging from the casual browser, to the student, teacher, curator, connoisseur or scholar; anyone seeking to locate, view and learn about arts from the Islamic world.
An advisory board of scholars, educators, collectors and curators of Islamic art guide AIW’s expansion and content offerings. The virtual museum will grow via a collaborative program between scholars, institutions and individual grantors. Building on the virtual museum, AIW will expand its scope to include exhibitions, public programs and more extensive educational initiatives targeted to the needs of a diverse constituency.