The Metropolitan Museum of Art makes 375,000 images available for free


Storm Below Mount Fuji (1830-32) by Katsushika Hokusai

Last week, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced a new policy which makes all images of public-domain artworks in the Museum’s collection available for free and unrestricted access.

The Creative Commons Zero (CC0) policy means that more than 375,000 images are free for students, scholars and the general public to re-use, remix, and mash-up, in any way they choose, without restriction.

Met’s Chief Digital Officer, Loic Tallon, said: “Adopting the CC0 designation for our images and data is one of the most effective ways the Museum can help audiences gain access to the collection and further its use by educators and students, artists and designers, professionals and hobbyists, as well as creators of all kinds.”

The Met sharing the diverse collection, spanning 5000 years of world culture, is a significant step towards making art open, accessible, and importantly, enjoyable for all. Removing barriers to content and inviting the world to use and remix the collection offers exciting opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. The historic artefacts can be used as educational resources across the world, allowing access to both educators and learners.

In our globalised and digitally connected world, maximising the reach of the collection means that anyone with internet access can view, share, and use the artworks. So instead of just the annual 6.7 million visitors to The Met’s three sites in New York City enjoying the artworks, the potential audience can include three billion internet-connected individuals around the globe.

Check out the open access artwork and artefacts on The Met’s website here.

Let’s hope other cultural institutions join The Met in leading the way towards making art, antiquities and cultural heritage freely available to all.


La Orana Maria (1891) Paul Gauguin


Cypresses (1889) Vincent van Gogh