Museum Collections Online

Museum Collections Online
In this digital age, many museums have started putting their collections online for researchers, casual visitors, and museum enthusiasts. Some selections are curated, in the form of virtual exhibitions. But many are simply an online catalog, searchable and presented as raw data.

There are often restrictions placed on how these collections may be used. Personal and educational use are almost always allowed, but if you plan to publish a photo (online or offline), copyright restrictions and fees usually apply. If you are interested in using an image for anything other than your personal enjoyment, it is best to contact the institution to inquire about its policies.

Here are a few of the best examples of collections available online:

The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The Smithsonian recently announced that 40,000 digitized American and Asia works are now available online. Many of these pieces have never been seen by the public, due to limitations in exhibition space. According to museum officials, the new digitized offerings include "1,806 American art objects, 1,176 ancient Egyptian objects, 2,076 ancient Near Eastern objects, 10,424 Chinese objects, 2,683 Islamic objects, 1,213 South and Southeast Asian objects, and smaller groupings of Korean, Armenian, Byzantine, Greek and Roman works."

Check out the collection here:

Kent State University Museum

The Kent State University Museum’s fashion collection is a nationally-recognized treasure. The Museum’s website features a searchable online catalog; three very limited digital costume galleries featuring 18th, 19th, and 20th century fashions; and a gallery of designers. The online catalog offers the best tools for the fashion connoisseur. You can search for specific types of clothing, or you can view “random images” to see a selection of items from the collections. Kent State University Museum frequently posts on Pinterest, so be sure to follow them if you’re interested in fashion history.

Check out the collection here:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

More than 400,000 works of art are available for viewing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website. You can browse by artist/maker/culture, date/era, object type/material, geographical location, or department. The database allows you to filter your results by those items that are on display, if you are interested in visiting the museum to see the real thing.

Check out the collection here:

You Should Also Read:
How to Visit a Museum
Top Ten Artifacts to See Before You Die
Why Visit a Museum?

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This content was written by Kim Kenney. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Kim Kenney for details.