Auckland Museum's Collections Online database gives you advanced search tools that let you explore our collection in exciting new ways. More than 300,000 images are available to download and reuse for any purpose imaginable — even commercial use. Using either a Creative Commons CC-BY licence or a No Known Copyright Restrictions copyright statement, the Museum is proud to share high-resolution images not only with wider communities in Auckland and New Zealand, but the whole world.
Auckland Museum is part of an international open-access initiative that encourages museums to digitise and upload public domain works to the internet free of charge and without restrictions, with the aim of generating new study, sparking creativity, and providing inspiration to people across the globe.
Our collections are open by default, which means that images of collection objects for which no copyright exists, or where copyright has expired, we allow reuse for any purpose, including commercial, as long as Auckland Museum is identified as the source.
To make these open, reusable images easy to find, we’ve added a search bar that narrows results to just these images and a nifty download button so you can quickly save images to your computer or device. Our Image Reuse Guidelines explain how to search for open images, exactly how you can reuse them, and how to accurately attribute images of each kind of object.
Since applying Creative Commons licences to our collections images, we are seeing new and interesting ways in which people are reusing them. For example, some of our entomology images have been used on sites such as Wikipedia to enrich entomological records. Even our own staff members have found inspiration from the collections, including Applied Arts Collection Manager, Jane Groufsky, who was inspired by a pressed seaweed specimen to create a hand stenciled dress.
Other cultural institutions in Aotearoa New Zealand that provide reusable images include Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Library of New Zealand, and Upper Hutt City Library, to name a few. DigitalNZ is another wonderful resource that brings together the collections of many heritage institutions and have a search filter that allows you to search by usage.
We always love to hear how people are reusing our collections, so please feel free to start exploring our open images and share your creations with us on social media with the hashtag #AucklandMuseum.
We look forward to seeing your creations!
Post by: Sarah Powell
Sarah Powell is the Rights Specialist at Auckland War Memorial Museum where the philosophy towards access and reuse of collections is “open by default.” Her role consists of managing rights and permissions for digital images of collection objects as part of the Collection Imaging project and where possible, opening up content through Creative Commons licensing.