The Springfield Museums have announced an online database of one of the largest Currier & Ives collections in the world. This collection contains over 750 hand-colored Currier & Ives Lithographs. To access it, go to http://www.springfieldmuseums.org/museums/mfa/. While this is a very interesting exhibit, it’s not at all easy to use.
From the front page of the Fine Arts museum URL above you’ll get a search URL for the Currier & Ives collection. I did a search for “snow”. I got nine results, including prints like “A Clipper Ship in a Snow Squall” and “American Railroad Scene. Snow Bound”. Nice stuff. “More Information” takes you to a larger version of the print along with some commentary and a few additional details. You’ll also have the option from the detail page to send an e-card of the print you’re looking at.
Here’s the problem, though. Neither the search results page or the details page has a search form! So once you’re done viewing the search results, all you can do is back out to the Fine Arts home page, reload the Flash, and search again.
After some poking around and URL tweaking I found that this page will give you a plain search form.
There also doesn’t appear to be any way you can do advanced searching — say, by date by print title versus keyword in the commentary. And that’s too bad, because I came to this database thinking Currier & Ives prints were all adorable Americana, and a little browsing relieved me of that notion, showing prints that were active and dramatic (search for Clipper) or downright bizarre (A Bare Chance.) But it’s way tougher than it should be to search this site.