MESL   at   Cornell University 

The Museum Educational Site Licensing (MESL) Project was a collaboration of seven collecting institutions and seven universities, defining the terms and conditions for the educational use of digitized museum images and related information. The project Final Reports are available in print and on the web.

From the start of the MESL program in July 1995, Cornell University was an active participant in MESL. The Pilot Phase of the MESL project expired July 1, 1998. Cornell then negotiated permission with 6 of the original 7 museums to retain access to their images for an additional year, with only Harvard unwilling to participate. This additional year expired on July 1, 1999. Although the project is over, pages related to the project are still available at the MESL demo site.

During the course of the MESL project, a number of courses at Cornell  made use of the MESL images. The following two examples, both from the Department of the History of Art, are indicative of the kind of ways in which faculty at Cornell utilized the MESL images.


History of Art 360, Nineteenth-Century American Painting and Everyday Life, Professor Laura L. Meixner: Study Guide

The MESL Study Guide accompanied H.A. 360 "Nineteenth-Century American Painting and Everyday Life."  Students enrolled in this upper-division lecture course included both advanced undergraduate and graduate students.  They represented several fields of the humanities--history of art, comparative literature, English--as well as diverse areas including human ecology, engineering, and international labor relations.   The primary aim of the review site was to assist students in preparing for course examinations.  Broad-based questions keyed to the images allowed students to both review lecture material and develop their own interpretations of image sets.  Because the site images complemented those discussed in class, students were able to build relational contexts between photographs, paintings, and prints of a given epoch.   Students benefited from the site because it allowed them access to images several times throughout the semester, and provided a forum for group discussion and review.   The approach worked very well, but might be augmented in the future by a chat room.


History of Art 362, Impressionism in Society, Professor Laura L. Meixner:
MESL Virtual Gallery "Coastal Views"

The "Coastal Views" set is part of a larger virtual gallery of Impressionist images designed for H.A. 362 "Impressionism in Society."  Students in this upper-division, interdisciplinary lecture course viewed the virtual gallery in conjunction with "Modern Life in France," an exhibition of works on paper at Cornell's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.  By viewing MESL images in thematic groups, including "Prints and Politics" and "Bathers and Brothels," students contextualized the original works of art they chose as their term paper topics.   Thematic groupings permitted students to view different formal approaches to a subject within the Impressionist epoch, and also to understand the development of a given theme from the Baroque through the Neoimpressionist era.   The placement of a kiosk in the Johnson Museum exhibition space proved very effective in engaging students in lively exchanges of ideas concerning the the major social, cultural, and political preoccupations of the Impressionist era.


For more information on MESL at Cornell, see <http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/MESLatCU/MESLdemo>.