National Portrait Gallery partners with Ancestry to create ‘Nation’s Family Album’

A new partnership between the National Portrait Gallery and family search website Ancestry will see nearly 500 years of British portraits made available online.

More than 125,000 digitized portraits from the gallery’s collection will be made available to Ancestry users, alongside the launch of “The Nation’s Family Album”, which will seek to collect undiscovered portraits of Britons and make them available in line.

The portraits in “The UK, Portraits and Photographs, 1547- 2018” are selected primarily for their subject matter and the sitter’s importance to British culture and history, the National Portrait Gallery said.

As well as numerous portraits of famous personalities, the collection includes images of individuals from all walks of life, including Mairi Chisholm, a motorcycle paramedic, nurse and photographer.

The initiative invites people to submit their family photographs, with the option of including the photographs and stories in an online exhibition and displaying them at the National Portrait Gallery in London when it reopens in 2023.

Later this year, a panel of experts – including the National Portrait Gallery‘s chief curator, Dr Alison Smith, and family history expert Simon Pearce of Ancestry – will shortlist a selection of portraits they believe will best summarize the themes of The Nation’s Family Album; Belonging, Legacy, Connection and Identity.

Dr Alison Smith, chief curator at the National Portrait Gallery, said the project will allow people “to explore the stories of the people represented in our collection”.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ancestry to share our extensive collection of world-class portraits with those researching their family history online, and encourage submissions to The Nation’s Family Album to celebrate this moment.”

In other partnership news this week, Netflix and the Design Museum have teamed up for an upcoming exhibit of the streaming platform’s “design philosophy.”

Design Museum and Netflix team up for streaming service exhibit

Julia P. Cluff