In January 2019, the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) launched an Open Access initiative, allowing the public to use high resolution images and metadata records. Committed to transformative experiences with art“for the benefit of all the people,” the CMA partnered with twelve local,national, and international organizations to showcase the posibilities of open access, creative commons, and best practice technology tools.
It was key for the CMA to model a comprehensive example for other museums. The approach included giving the partners early access to the API so they could use the data to demonstrate projects on launch day. Partnerships are key to building community, providingexamples of the bene ts and reaching beyond the CMA’s platforms.
The main challenge was the internal conversation about what portion of CMA’s collection could be included as part of the Open Access initiative. Complex copyright rules were more challenging than anticipated. The Museum eventually reached out to Creative Commons, who worked with CMA lawyers to guide the initiative and help shape a best practice model.
The online collection site was redesigned with creative commons’ icons to easily identify Open Access artworks and explain the rights and uses.
The partnerships include art-world, academic, commercial, community, and technology partners. The 12 partners for the launch presented a varied range of projects. Institutions and organizations spread the access andimpact of the initiative to relevant communities of practice and magni edits impact and reach beyond the CMA’s website.