The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded Artstor and five collaborating institutions a three-year National Leadership Grant, with an award of $749,418. The funds will be used to support the development of free software to enable museums to contribute digital image collections for open access through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

Artstor will work in collaboration with DPLA, the El Paso Museum of Art, the Museo de Arte de Ponce, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Staten Island Museum. The project will lower barriers to museum contributions to the DPLA by making Shared Shelf, Artstor’s cloud-based cataloging and asset management service, available to museums for contributing to large scale aggregations such as DPLA; providing enhanced metadata migration tools; creating intellectual property rights decision support tools, and providing a capacity for contributions that meet DPLA requirements to be channeled to DPLA’s harvesting services. When complete, the service will improve the discoverability of museum collections and support an efficient network for unrestricted open access for discovering museum content via the DPLA. In addition to serving public and research library users by making available difficult-to-access collections on a shared national platform, this channel should increase access to images of museum collections for K-12 education as they become increasingly reliant on multimedia learning materials.

“This support from IMLS allows us to build a bridge between museums with amazing and often under-appreciated collections and the DPLA, which has rapidly become a fascinating window into the nation’s heritage,” said James Shulman, Artstor’s president. “IMLS has been strategic in analyzing and — with this grant, helping to address — gaps in the national digital infrastructure. We’re very grateful for their support and for the community’s partnership in figuring out how to help content flow.”

“The tools Artstor will implement have significant potential for helping museums to contribute digital image collections for open public access, especially small museums and museums with limited resources,” said Erin Coburn, Erin Coburn, Digital Strategy Consultant for Museums and former Chief Officer of Digital Media at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Artstor’s experience working with museum staff and systems has made it a specific kind of hub to support the DPLA’s work,” added Dan Cohen, Executive Director of the DPLA. “The backing of IMLS for deepening our collaboration with them has the promise of greatly expanding the images and rich media that DPLA can share.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.