As I wrote about in this week’s Forbes blog post, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York yesterday announced the release of 375,000 images of artwork into the Public Domain. Those of you who follow this blog know that I talk endlessly (some might say freely!) about the merits of open content initiatives. Ergo, I am glad to see that the Met has taken this stance towards image rights. What I hoped to emphasize with this post is that the Met is neither the first nor the last to join the open access movement. We should also look to museums like the Walters Art Museum and the Getty as important pioneers in the movement toward open access museum collections.

Below are a few image collections from museums that have similarly adopted the belief that art should be free and open to the public.

Resources for Open Access Image Collections in U.S. Museums: 

Metropolitan Museum of Art Image And Data Resources

Getty Open Content Program 

Walters Art Museum Image Database

Penn Museum Image Database 

National Gallery of Art Image Database 

I will leave you with my favorite image from the Met’s collection: Gennadios’ medallion. I write a lot about gold glass and this third century CE example originally from Alexandria is a splendid example of the craft, with an inscription on the prize that reads: “Gennadios, most skilled in music.”