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New games and an updated site use bells and whistles to engage kids in art

November 17, 2008

LOS ANGELES—What if the J. Paul Getty Museum’s paintings were in pieces, and kids had to put them back together again?  Or if someone switched the details on works of art, and kids had to find the changes?  That’s the world of GettyGames, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s newly updated web feature that uses game strategies to help kids focus on art.

On GettyGames, youngsters can reassemble Van Gogh’s Irises from jigsaw puzzle pieces, find the changed details in Walker Evans’ Two Elderly Men Conversing, and match the animals on Breughels’ Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark.  If kids become intrigued by the artwork while they’re playing the game, they can click and learn more about the artist and the work.

The updated GettyGames features improved navigation and richer content, in response to requests from kids and their parents.  “We surveyed our users and took their advice by adding many more games and puzzles and more artworks to see and learn about,” says Toby Tannenbaum, assistant director for education at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

And there are, literally, more bells and whistles.  “The site now features lively sound,” says Tannenbaum.  “Kids told us they wanted reinforcement when they gave a correct answer in a game, so now they get fun noises when they make choices.”

The GettyGames site, reached at, offers the following games:

• Detail Detective – where kids match the right detail with the painting it comes from
• Match Madness – where kids click on cards to turn them over and find the matching pairs
• Switch – where kids find the differences in two seemingly identical artworks
• Jigsaw Puzzle – where kids reassemble paintings

In addition, there are art projects to download and complete at home, allowing kids to make bookmarks in the style of illuminated manuscripts, wheat stacks like Monet’s, or a Mardi Gras mask reminiscent of James Ensor’s Christ’s Entry into Brussels.

Ideally, of course, once kids have explored a work of art through GettyGames, they’ll want to see the real thing.  “We hope GettyGames inspires families to come visit the artworks they’ve explored online,” says Tannenbaum.

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Julie Jaskol
Getty Communications

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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