Works that the museum – based in New York City – believe to be in the public domain will now be available online for unrestricted use, in partnership with Creative Commons, as well as Pinterest, Wikimedia and Artstor.
Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley called it “a huge deal”. In a statement, director of the Met Thomas P. Campbell said: “Our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care.” The collection “spans 5,000 years of world culture” and, with this new venture, Campbell said the aim is to serve “the interests and needs of our 21st-century audiences.”
The Met’s chief digital officer Loic Tallon was equally enthusiastic about the picture quality of the 200,000 works – a total of 375,000 images at 4,000 pixels wide. Speaking at a press conference, Tallon said the zoom feature will allow users to “really see the beauty of the images”.
Campbell claims, with the digital move, the museum “now becomes the largest and most diverse open-access museum collection in the world.”