It’s becoming more and more common for museums to digitize their collections. The latest one to join the trend is The Cleveland Museum of Art. After digitizing its collection, it made it publicly accessible online, with 30,000 images free for download and remix.
The CMA has shared the images from its permanent collection that are in the public domain open access. This means that you can download, share, reproduce, reuse and remix the images for scholarly, non-commercial, but also commercial purposes.
The CMA’s director, William Griswold, said in a statement regarding this project:
“With Open Access, the museum makes its collection of art from all periods and parts of the world easier to access and more relevant to the public. As a global leader among museums, the CMA is committed to transparency and universal access, and we anticipate that other institutions around the world will undertake similar initiatives in order to engage new audiences and help bring art to life for all.”
The online gallery contains around 30,000 items from the museum’s collection. This includes nearly 6,000 photos from 19th, 20th and 21st century. As I was browsing the gallery, I stumbled upon a few photos by Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne, whose experiments I find oddly fascinating, although somewhat disturbing. He applied electrical stimulation to his subject’s face and photographed the resulting expressions. Of course, there are plenty more fascinating photos in the gallery, so make sure to take a look.
There are other museums (and NASA) that made their image collections publicly accessible. Thanks to them, there are thousands of works free for download and remix. Here are a few more online libraries that allow you to access and download images and art books:
- The American Museum of Natural History
- The Guggenheim Museum (art books)
- The Met Museum
- Europeana Collections
Lead image credits: John R. Johnston (left), Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne (de Boulogne) (right)