Open Access + CMA


Open Access


Explore Open Access:

What is the CMA’s Open Access Initiative?

As of January 23, 2019, the Cleveland Museum of Art is an Open Access institution, using the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation for high-resolution images and data related to its collection. This means the public now has the ability to share, collaborate, remix, and reuse images of public-domain artworks from the CMA’s world-renowned collection—all without asking permission. In addition, portions of collections information (metadata) for artwork records, both in the public domain and those works with copyright or other restrictions, are now available. 

Why Open Access? 

Open Access is a logical and exciting outgrowth of the CMA’s inclusive mission “to create transformative experiences through art, for the benefit of all the people, forever.” The time is right to firmly bring our mission into the 21st century. With this move to Open Access, we have transformed not only access to the CMA’s collection but also its usability inside and outside the walls of our museum. By expanding access to the collection, we proudly contribute to best practice, both in the quality of images and the wealth of data we will release. 

Read the full statement from the CMA’s director, William Griswold. 

Measuring Impact

Since launching our Open Access Initiative, the CMA has been asking “How is Open Access making an impact?” In May 2020, in collaboration with local data science firm Pandata, the CMA launched its Live Virtual Dashboards, which update daily. Click through the tabs to see different data sets—currently we measure engagement from our Collection Online, API, and Wikipedia. Check back soon, as we plan to add data on more of our partner repositories. It’s exciting to see the exponential effects that Open Access has had on the reach of the museum’s collection!

Open Access in 3-D

In September 2019, the Cleveland Museum of Art extended its Open Access policy to three dimensional (3-D) images of public domain artworks from its collection. Works with available 3-D image files are linked to open access objects in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Collection Online with the 3-D icon and can be viewed and downloaded via Sketchfab.

Discover More Details

For developers interested in accessing and downloading metadata and images:
GitHub Repository
Image and Data Services
Image and Data Services Request Form 
Frequently Asked Questions
In the News

For more information, read the press release and director’s blog post, and watch the video of the launch event.  



OHtec Best of Tech Awards
Winner: Best Community Collaboration and Innovation, Open Access Initiative 

Museums and the Web Awards
Finalist: Behind the Scenes, Open Access Initiative

Media and Technology MUSE Awards
Bronze: Research and Innovation, Open Access Initiative

Grands Prix Awards
Silver: Cross-Institutiuon Partnership, Launching Open Access: Toolsets and Protocols for Best Practice