Smithsonian makes image banks rights free in the largest cultural open access programme in history

Open access is a milestone for the Smithsonian in our efforts to reach, educate and inspire audiences
– Lonnie G. Bunch III

Smithsonian Open Access, an initiative to provide copyright-free access to millions of digital collection images and data, has been launched, with anyone now able to download, transform and share content for free and for any purpose.

Beginning with 2.8 million images, the institution said that this is the largest and most interdisciplinary open-access programme by a museum or cultural institution to date. It aims to have more than three million images designated as open access by late 2020.

With contributions from all of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centres, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, the programme includes content across the arts, sciences, history, culture, technology and design, from portraits of historic American figures to 3D scans of dinosaur skeletons. High-resolution 2D and 3D images, research datasets and collections metadata can all be downloaded in bulk.

While the Smithsonian has previously made more than 4.7 million collection images available online for personal, non-commercial and educational use, the new open-access project gives nearly three million of those images a Creative Commons Zero designation, which waives the institution’s copyright and permits a greater variety of uses, both commercial and non-commercial.

"Open access is a milestone for the Smithsonian in our efforts to reach, educate and inspire audiences," said Smithsonian secretary Lonnie Bunch. "Through this initiative, we are empowering people across the globe to reimagine and repurpose our collections in creative

new ways."

The Open Access project makes this Smithsonian content available via Creative Commons, Google Arts & Culture, Wikipedia and other digital platforms. Among those who have worked with the Smithsonian in using its open access collections to create original works and discover new insights are:

Google Arts & Culture, which applied machine learning to the entire Smithsonian collections dataset to uncover connections between early women scientists at the Smithsonian and their life’s work;

Artist Amy Karle, who used a 3D scan of a Triceratops skeleton from the National Museum of Natural History to create nine sculptures that explore the impact of technology on evolution;

Author Jon Scieszka and illustrator Steven Weinberg ‒ creators of the children’s book series AstroNuts ‒ who produced a free, downloadable booklet showing students how to remix Smithsonian Open Access images for their own projects;

Georgetown University Library’s Maker Hub, which challenged students to create projects using things such as artworks, electronics and textiles based on the Smithsonian Open Access collections.

Smithsonian  open access  Smithsonian Open Access  Creative Commons  Google Arts & Culture 
Related stories
06 Feb 2020

Smithsonian announces partnership with V&A East

07 Aug 2019

Foundations donate US$30m photo archive to cultural institutions

30 May 2019

Smithsonian names Lonnie Bunch as its new secretary

08 Feb 2017

Met introduces new Open Access policy to make artworks freely available online

More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7502     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7502     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: GOCO Hospitality
The specialists in designing, developing and operating spa and wellness spaces.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Local, natural materials have been used to create an organic, calming feel. Views of the surroundings take centre stage
"Wellness embraces the entire holiday experience"

The design of the newly-opened Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomitti in Italy aims to celebrate and protect its spectacular surroundings

The Lingang Bird Airport scheme will see a wetland sanctuary and visitor centre created on reclaimed land
"Funding woes and murky timelines are common problems. It can be easier to make a difference one small project at a time"

From parks designed to mitigate the effects of flooding to warming huts for one of the world’s coldest cities, these projects have been designed for increasingly extreme climates

features
"The cities where you have good cultural buildings and facilities – it’s a way for people to mix, to share the city in a much deeper way"

The French architect and winner of the 2017 European Prize for Architecture tells us why she is determined to surprise

Francis graduated as a landscape architect in Belgium. He returned to Lebanon in 1993
"I believe gardens are where the soul rests"

With a focus on desert landscapes and collaborations with Zaha Hadid and OMA, the principal of Francis Landscapes has a deep belief in the power of nature

cladkit product news
1885 Lounge at St Mary's Stadium celebrates Southampton FC's history
Rainbow Design worked closely with KSS Architects to ensure the furniture matched the design vision
Lauren Heath-Jones
KSS Architects has partnered with Rainbow Design, a London-based furniture supplier, to create the 1885 Lounge at St Mary's Stadium, ...
Canteen collection combines nostalgia with modern aesthetics
The Canteen collection was inspired by post-war British design techniques
Lauren Heath-Jones
Very Good & Proper (VG&P), a British furniture brand, has curated a new dining collection that combines traditional woodworking techniques ...
Tom Dixon collaborates with Prolicht to launch CODE lighting range
The product has three LED light sources: Dot, Dash and Grid
Megan Whitby
British designer, Tom Dixon, and Austrian architectural lighting specialists, Prolicht, have collaborated to unveil a new lighting range. Called CODE, ...
cladkit product news
Naval architect launches solar-powered floating pods
The Anthénea pod is a luxury floating suite that could be used as a spa or treatment suite
Lauren Heath-Jones
Naval architect Jean-Michel Ducancelle has designed a solar-powered floating hotel suite aimed at offering an eco-friendly and nomadic place for ...
XTU concept imagines life in the clouds
XTU's X Cloud concept is part of the Future and the Arts: AI, Robotic, Cities, Life - How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo
Lauren Heath-Jones
XTU Architects, a Paris-based architecture firm, has released images and renderings of X Cloud, a new concept that showcase a ...
BIG partners with Louis Poulsen for new lighting collection
The Keglen collection is made up of four different pendants
Lauren Heath-Jones
BIG Ideas, the technology arm of renowned architecture firm Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), has partnered with Danish lighting manufacturer Louis ...
cladkit product news
Metalline transforms London hotel with bespoke aluminium fins
The aluminium fins will form the façade of the upcoming Minories Hotel in Aldgate, London
Lauren Heath-Jones
Metalline, an architectural metalwork specialist based in the UK, has created a range of bespoke 3D twisted metal fins for ...
Barr + Wray to launch space saving hammam concept
Light shines through a striking central chandelier to create a feeling of movement
Katie Barnes
Smaller footprint. Maximum theatre. Those are the two main features of a new hammam concept being developed by wet spa ...
Daniel Svahn creates furniture collection using repurposed table tops
The Goodies But Oldies collection features three pieces made from repurposed MDF table tops
Lauren Heath-Jones
Daniel Svahn, a Stockholm-based furniture designer, has created a new range of sustainable furnishings, made from recycled MDF tabletops. Svahn, ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates