In a new initiative designed to assist scholars with teaching, study, and the publication of academic works, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will distribute, free of charge, high-resolution digital images from an expanding array of works in its renowned collection for use in academic publications. This new service, which is effective immediately, is available through ARTstor, a non-profit organization that makes art images available for educational use.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art has long sought to address the significant challenges that scholars confront in seeking to secure and license images of objects from the Museum’s collections,” stated Metropolitan Museum Director Philippe de Montebello in making the announcement. “We hope, through this collaboration, to play a pioneering role in addressing one of the profound challenges facing scholars in art history, and scholarly publishing, today.”

ARTstor’s Executive Director, James Shulman, added: “By taking such a bold step in supporting publications based on art-historical research, the Metropolitan is providing enormous leadership to the entire sector. Scholars – in higher education and in museums – have been struggling with the question of how digitization might help to enable, rather than hinder, scholarly communications. For all involved, it is obvious that, when faced with an important directional challenge, the Metropolitan is providing decisive leadership.”

Initially approached by the Metropolitan Museum in 2005 to develop this initiative, ARTstor has worked in close consultation with Metropolitan Museum staff to create its new service, entitled “Images for Academic Publishing” (IAP), which will make images available via software on the ARTstor Web site. Initially, nearly 1,700 images representative of the broad range of the Metropolitan Museum’s encyclopedic collection will be available through the more than 730 institutions that currently license ARTstor. Efforts to expand this accessibility are now underway and will be announced by ARTstor at a later date. For more information about ARTstor’s plans for its “Images for Academic Publishing” service, please send email to

ARTstor, a digital image library, was created in 2001 as a non-profit initiative of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It is now an independent non-profit organization dedicated to serving education and scholarship in the arts and humanities. The more than 730 non-profit institutions currently participating in ARTstor are located in North America, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – founded in 1870 with a mission to collect, preserve, and display works of art spanning 5,000 years of world culture from every part of the globe, and to educate the public about art – is the most comprehensive art museum in the Western Hemisphere with a collection now including more than two million works of art.