The Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces (VCM) is a project started in 2007 by the Asia Europe Museum Network (ASEMUS). The objective is to “promote mutual understanding and appreciation between peoples of various and different cultures” using masterpieces from museums in Asia. As of October 2015, there are more than 2,500 masterpieces contributed by more than 100 museums. Users can conduct a keyword search or browse the masterpieces by museum, object type, place or period.
The National Gallery of Australia is one of the largest museums in the country. It houses more than 160,000 works of art in Australian art, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art, Asian art, European and American art, Asian art and Pacific art. Users can conduct a keyword search or browse by the different categories.
Australian Prints + Printmaking provides “a gateway for information on printed images from Australia and the Asia Pacific region”. The site provides a database of prints and printmaking by artists from Australia and the pacific regions, including New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The site also allows users to explore the collections through three experimental web interfaces, designed by Mitchell Whitelaw and Ben Ennis Butler. The interfaces are created as part of their research into ‘generous interfaces’ that attempt to provide new ways to explore digital collections. Users can search or browse by artists, subjects, works and networks, and decade summary.
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.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand. Their collections online contain information of more than 500,000 works of art. Among them, more than 30000 have downloadable images for reuse in high resolution. Users can search by keywords.
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.
Display is “a curated collection of important modern, mid 20th century graphic design books, periodicals, advertisements and ephemera”. Developed by Kind Company, a web and print design agency based in New York, the intention was to spread awareness of Graphic Design as “a source of educational, historical and scholarly analysis for teachers, students, designers and independent researchers”. Images from Display are digitised from original items within the collection.
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.
Herman Miller is an American furniture design firm and among the first to produce modern furniture. Working together with designers George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, the company produced some of the classics in industrial design. Their website provides a library of images, which contains Herman Miller’s white sweep environments, and detailed product photography and renderings. Users can search or browse by different categories. The website also provides other design resources, such as materials, 3D renderings and product downloads.
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.
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.
The Whitney Museum of American Art houses a comprehensive range of “twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists”. Their digital collection provides access to more than 21,000 artworks from more than 3,000 artists. Users can search or browse by artist.
VADS is an “online resource for visual arts”. Over 12 years, VADS built a portfolio of visual art collections, which comprise of “over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK”. These collections were contributed by various institutions in the UK. Through the site, users can search or browse by collections and themes. VADS also provides a series of resources that were built around the image collections by “specialist authors and lecturers”.
Since its founding in 1940, the Walker Art Center has collected the visual, performing, and media arts of our time. Their digital collection contains more than 4,000 images. Users can search or browse by period and type. Walker Art Center also has a Living Collection Catalogue that is an online serial dedicated to scholarly research of their multidisciplinary collections. The catalogue contains media-rich essays on broader themes as well as in-depth investigations of specific works of art.
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.
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.