Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is one of the largest museums in the United States. The museum collection houses more than 65,000 works of art from antiquity to present day. Users can search by keywords or browse by collecting areas, artist/maker, culture, classification and artist nationality.
Since mid 1700s, the Princeton University has been collecting art. To date, there are more than “92,000 works of art spanning the world of art from antiquity to the present”, as mentioned by James Christen Steward, the Director of the Princeton University Art Museum. Users can search or browse by different collections.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is among the largest museums in Canada. To date, there are about 41,000 works in their holdings. Their collections are distributed across six sections: Archaeology and World Cultures, Early to Modern International Art, Quebec and Canadian Art, International Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts and Design, and Graphic Arts and Photography. Users can search or browse images by the different sections.
The Wallace Collection is a national museum in London that houses works of art collected in the 18th and 19th centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. Through Wallace Live, users can search for images of the works of art.
According to their Annual Report 2014, the Philadelphia Museum of Art contains about 227,000 works of art in their collections. More than 100,000 images are made available through their digital collection. Users can search by keywords, artist, country of work and curatorial departments.
The collection of Walters Art Museum contains thousands of art works from the third millennium B.C to the 20th century, ranging from mummies to arms and armor, from old master paintings to Art Nouveau jewelry around the globe and across ages. Through their online collections, users can search or browse images in several ways, which include category, date, creator, medium and tags. Users can also login using their Facebook account to create their own online collections.
The Tret’yakov Gallery (or the State Tretyakov Gallery) houses a comprehensive collection of Russian fine art from the 12th century onwards. Their digital collection allows user to search or browse more than 2,000 artworks by categories, periods and artists.
The Cleveland Museum of Art houses close to 45,000 objects that span across 6,000 years. Their online collection provides access to close to 34,800 images. Users can search or browse by various collections, creators and types.
Founded in 1965, the Israel Museum is “the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel”. They houses encyclopaedic collections, ranging from pre-history to the present day in archaelogy, fine arts and Jewish art. Their digital image database, IMAGINE, allows users to search and browse the collections by exhibitions, collections or departments.
Developed by The Open Knowledge Foundation, The Public Domain Review is “an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety”, as according to the website. Images in their collections are derived from a wide range of online archives, that are on public domain. The images are arranged by topics, where users can search or browse by time, style, genre, type, content and rights.
Started more than 30 years ago by Cartography Associates, the David Rumsey Map Collection “focuses on rare 16th through 20th century maps of North and South America, as well as maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania”. The collection includes “atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children’s, and manuscript maps”. Their digital collection contains more than 61,000 images, where users can search or browse by types, locations and periods. The website also provides many ways to view the map collections, such as Luna Browser, Georeferencer, Google Earth, etc. Learn more about the evolution of the physical collection into the online collection here.
The Art Institute of Chicago was founded as both a museum and school for fine arts around 1879. Today, it houses more than 300,000 works of art in their permanent collections, ranging from “Chinese bronzes to contemporary design and from textiles to installation art”. The digital collection contains more than 80,000 images, where you can search or browse by categories. The website also allows you to sign up for an account and make your own art collections by selecting artworks and adding notes about them. You can save your “collections” to revisit in the future or share them with your friends.
One of the oldest galleries in Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) houses more than 70,000 works of art. Their digital collection contains close to 59,000 images of Australian and international works of art. Users may search or browse by the different collection areas.
The Museu d’Art de Catalunya, or MNAC in short, is a national museum located in Barcelona, Spain. The museum is known for its outstanding collections of Romanesque mural paintings and Catalan Modernism. Their digital collection contains more than 8,500 images of artworks from their collections. Users can browse the collections, search and narrow the results by classification, themes and period.
LACMA houses more than 120,000 objects across different media, region and periods such as Greek, Roman and Etruscan art, Asian art, American and Latin American art, decorative arts and design, photography, and modern and contemporary art. The digital collections provide access to more than 53,000 images of artworks with more than 20,000 that LACMA believes to be in the public domain. Users can search and filter the results by artist, classification, curatorial area, periods and location.
Through the Open Content Program, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute provide access to more than 87,000 images from their collections. The images include more than 72,000 from the Research Institute’s Foto Arte Minore archive, which features photographs of the art and architecture of Italy over 30 years by German photographer and scholar Max Hutzel (1913–1988). Other images include paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities, sculpture, decorative arts, artists’ sketchbooks, watercolors, rare prints from the 16th through the 18th century, and 19th-century architectural drawings of cultural landmarks. Over time, images from the Getty Conservation Institute will be added, as well as more images from the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute.
Based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the State Hermitage Museum is one of the world’s largest and oldest museums. From Paleolithic to contemporary, the museum has more than 3 million items in its holding. The museum also has the world’s largest collection of paintings, which includes famous paintings from the great masters, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, etc.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is continually making their collections accessible online. To date, their collections span from paintings, prints, drawings, photography to more specific works like African art, Asian art, decorative arts and new media.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of the most comprehensive museums in the world. From Ancient Egypt to contemporary art, the museum has nearly 450,000 works of art in its holdings. Its digital collection allows users to search and refine the results by collection type and classification.
The Guggenheim Museum contains an extensive holding of over 7,000 artworks from the late 19th century to present day. Their collection online presents “a searchable database of selected artworks from the Guggenheim’s permanent collection of over 7,000 artworks”, which includes works from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The database can also be browsed by artists, dates, mediums, movements and venues.