The Metropolitan Museum of Art has opened up its image archive to the masses, releasing almost 400,000 files online for people to use, as long as they don’t put them towards commercial ends. It’s part of the Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC), and as of right now, it holds 394,233 records, with more planned to be added as time goes on.
According to the Met, these images are designed for scholarly use, but that doesn’t mean just academic publications. As they put it, some examples are
and examples of non-covered situations are
One interesting part of navigating the difficult situation of what the rights are for these images, is that the Met describes them as public domain, which should mean they should be able to be used free of restrictions. But what’s most likely is that the art itself is in the public domain, but these specific images were made by the museum, and so they have the right to license them as they choose.
If you want to dive into the photography collection, you can see the nearly 35,000 images here.