It’s always a good time to browse through online galleries of historic photos. But if there’s the best time for it, it’s probably now while we’re in isolation. Because of this, the British Museum has revamped its online collection sooner than planned. It has made 1.9 million images free to view, download and use under a Creative Commons 4.0 license.
The online collection has been there for a while, but now it has been redeveloped. It should be much easier to find what you want, and it’s more intuitive to use. Together with photos, there are almost four and a half million objects – a half of the museum’s collection – that you can browse through. Another novelty is that you can now zoom in and pan over images, which will let you reveal more details than you would if you were observing the objects in person.
Today we’re excited to launch a major revamp of our Collection online! 🏛📲
We’ve been working extra hard to bring you this update early so you can #MuseumFromHome even better than before.
— British Museum (@britishmuseum) April 28, 2020
The collection covers a huge time span: “from some of the earliest objects created by humankind to works by contemporary artists” as the museum explains. The British Museum’s director Hartwig Fischer said: “We are delighted to be able to unveil this major revamp early, and hope that these important objects can provide inspiration, reflection or even just quiet moments of distraction during this difficult time.”
You can browse the British Museum’s impressive collection here. Also take a look at other free online collections via links below:
- Europeana Photography Collection
- Paris Musées online collection
- The Met Museum online gallery
- Arab Image Foundation gallery
- Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection
- NASA image gallery
- American Museum of Natural History Research Library
- The Guggenheim Museum online archive (books)
- BBC Archive (sound samples)