Jan 28, 2019

The Cleveland Museum of Art made 30,000 works from its collection free to download and remix.

The Cleveland Museum of Art. Photo by Erik Drost, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Cleveland Museum of Art. Photo by Erik Drost, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) has made images of some 30,000 works from its permanent collection that are in the public domain open access, meaning that anyone may download, share, reproduce, remix, or otherwise transform the images for scholarly, commercial, and noncommercial uses.

As part of this digital access project (in which Artsy is a partner), the institution is also making additional information about more than 61,000 works from the museum’s collection available to the public. In addition to high-resolution images, the project will house extensive metadata for each of the roughly 30,000 open access works, including exhibition histories, catalogue numbers, provenance, bibliographies, authored texts, and more.

In a statement, the CMA’s director, William Griswold, said:

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 newly digitized images and extensive metadata are available through the CMA’s revamped collections database, as well as through the sites of each partner on the project: Creative Commons, Internet Archive, Wikimedia, Artsy, and Artstor. The project builds on similar initiatives to use the Creative Commons Zero designation to make public domain works widely available and usable at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Rijksmuseum, the Walters Art Museum, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Statens Museum for Kunst.