Traditional Fine Arts Organization

Institution Outreach Project



(above: Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Mural for the Santa Monica Library: Prologue (mountain tops), between 1934 and 1935, 28.5 x 60 inches, Smithsonian American Art Museum. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


About TFAO and the project

Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) offers online the most thorough body of knowledge concerning American representational art through its publication Resource Library, plus catalogues including:

Over the years, the submissions guidelines for TFAO's Resource Library have tightened considerably. As a result, fewer museums are invited by TFAO to submit materials for publication consideration than in earlier years. Museums not contacted for many years may loose touch with the content of TFAO's website. Also, as is the case for all organizations, there is substantial year-over-year turnover in museums' staff. Because of these factors, and having completed the 2014-2015 Content Enrichment Project for the Topics in American Art catalog and updated the Videos Online and Audio Online catalogs, TFAO initiated a multi-phase project to contact museums to help them become better aware of TFAO's many resources.

Since the content of Resource Library and TFAO's catalogues are also of value to art history faculty and students, and TFAO's online projects, reports, and studies are of value to museum studies faculty and students, outreach was also provided to colleges and universities.

Since TFAO's inception in 1996, all content has been presented to the public free of charge - and will continue on that basis. TFAO is 100% non-commercial.


American art museum outreach: phases one, two and three

The Art Museum, Gallery and Art Center index is the source of museum names for all three phases. These institutions are the main sources of articles and essays published in TFAO's Resource Library.

In phase one, letters were sent to staff of museums listed in Audited past exhibition pages of websites containing extensive information on at least one past exhibit. Phase one was completed July, 2015.

Phase two covered staff members listed in Audited past exhibition pages of websites containing a moderate level of information on past exhibits. The greatest number of museums were reached in this phase. Phase two was completed September, 2015.

Phase three covered staff listed in Audited past exhibition pages of websites containing negligible information on past exhibits or museums no longer in existence. This set of museums was less productive than those of phases one and two. Phase three was completed September, 2015.

Phase one outreach progress was recorded here, phase two progress here and phase three progress here. Outreach letters, sent to 631 institutions in phases one, two and three combined, reached over 1,500 individual email addressees.

Texts for outreach letters are here. The procedure is here.


College and university art history faculty outreach: phase four

College and university faculty and students are historically the largest users of TFAO content. In phase four, TFAO volunteers reviewed websites of art history departments of colleges and universities to identify faculty teaching classes inclusive of American representational art. The contact letter is here, the procedure is here and outreach progress was recorded here. Phase four was completed November, 2015. TFAO sent over 400 outreach letters to colleges and universities, reaching over 600 individual email addressees.


College and university art museum studies faculty outreach: phase five

Outreach to college museology and museum studies instructors was the fifth phase, completed December, 2015. Please click here for names of the colleges and universities, here for the outreach procedure and here for the outreach letter. TFAO sent 83 outreach letters to colleges and universities, reaching over 150 individual email addressees.


2015 Outreach Summary

In 2015 over 2,200 individuals were reached through phases one through five of the Institution Outreach Project


Museum outreach: phase six

After completing museum outreach phases one through three, college art history faculty phase four and college museum studies faculty phase five, in phase six TFAO will send follow up letters to museums contacted in phases one through three, plus letters to art centers and museums not previously contacted. The contact letter is here, the procedure is here and outreach progress is being recorded here. The purpose of phase six is to provide information of special interest to curatorial and educatonal staff. Phase six was completed December, 2015.


Who should volunteer?

Artists, authors, students, seniors and other art-loving individuals may volunteer for the Institution Outreach Project. Persons seeking to share knowledge about American art, hone skills in project organization and execution, plus those interested in museology, museum studies, art history studies and library science, will find the project useful.

Satisfaction will be found in helping educators and leaders of institutions better serve their publics by becoming further aware of the in-depth and unique services of TFAO.

Acknowledgment of service hours will be provided to students.

Student volunteers learn:


Equipment and software

Volunteers can use any device allowing multiple screens to be open at the same time for a browser and email program. The email letter template is available on an email screen for copying. Each outgoing email is processed in a separate screen by pasting of the letter body and subject, and entering of email addresses.

Another email contains a copy of the block of museum names being processed. The addressee codes and date are added next to each museum name after it is processed. When information for the block of twenty museums is completed, the report email is sent to TFAO.

A browser window is used to access links to museum websites for the block of museums being processed.

For privacy protection a volunteer may wish to set up a separate email account for the project.


Volunteer time

Work can be done any time of day or night in any time zone.


Return to research projects, reports and studies

Clip art courtesy of ClipartPal and image of computer courtesy of Apple Computer, image of Heard Museum courtesy of John Hazeltine

Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.

*Tag for expired US copyright of object image:

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