Cleveland Museum of Art Open Access

The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) is using Open Access to enhance the ability to access and use high-resolution digital images and collections data. Open Access means the public now has the ability to share, collaborate, remix, and reuse images for as many as 30,000 artworks in the public domain from the CMA’s world-renowned collection of art for both commercial and noncommercial purposes. Also, additional information for more than 61,000 artworks —both in the public domain and those works with copyright or other restrictions—are now available.

The CMA’s launch of its Open Access program is the most comprehensive to date, including high-resolution images in both JPG and TIF formats as well as a fully operable application programming interface (API) that can be accessed at Among the significant features of the CMA’s Open Access offering are rich metadata with the inclusion of authored text for each artwork, exhibition history, bibliographic citations, catalogue raisonné numbers, and provenance information. Collection data in both the CSV and JSON file formats can be accessed via a GitHub repository at

In collaboration with this new initiative, the museum launches its newly redesigned online collection to make it easy for individuals, scholars, students, and visitors to have access to this wealth of information. This includes up to 35 fields of metadata with descriptive text, creating more possibilities for semantic relationships, contextual interpretations, and translations related to artworks in the collection.

At launch, leading national and international brands and organizations will provide demonstrable examples of the benefits of Open Access, magnifying the initiative’s impact and reach beyond The Cleveland Museum of Art. Content partners for the launch are American Greetings, Artstor, Artsy, Case Western Reserve University, Creative Commons, Europeana, Hyland Software, Internet Archive, Microsoft Corporation, Pandata, and Wikimedia.


Cleveland Museum of Art



CMA Blog

Images courtesy Erik Drost.

“The Thinker at the Cleveland Museum of Art.” August 18, 2012. Via Flickr. Creative Commons BY 2.0.

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