The Met Puts Almost 400,000 Images To Use For Free Online

Released under Open Access for Scholarly Content, the images are free to use for non-commercial purposes

met free images

met free images

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

All school and academic work (including theses, dissertations, etc.), conference proceedings, journal articles, essays in Festschrifts, museum exhibition catalogues, non-commercially produced textbooks and educational materials, books published by university presses or the academic/scholarly imprint of commercial publishers, self-published books, and documentary films. All of these examples apply to scholarly publication in any media format (print, electronic, film, etc.).

and examples of non-covered situations are

Commercial use, publication, or distribution in any media or format is not scholarly content. Some examples include: commercially published general-interest books in print or electronic media; all products, merchandise, (including posters, calendars, notecards, datebooks, mugs, etc.), advertisements, or promotional materials for any services or products in any media format; feature films or documentaries funded by commercial organizations.

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.