The Dallas Museum of Art is now one step closer to achieving its goal of digitizing its entire collection of more than 22,000 works. The museum launched a redesigned digital database of art through its website, marking the first phase of an initiative made possible by a $9 million donation in November 2013.
That money, which also ensures free general admission, funds an ambitious plan to create one of the world’s most sophisticated online art collections — not only for visitors but also for students, teachers and scholars. For visitors — many of whom are tethered to their smart phones as they wander through the galleries — the new online collection provides on-demand, rich content about works of art on view and in storage, giving them a virtual way to explore the collection.
Users can browse the collection by department, artist, materials, location, color or date; search for a specific piece; and filter by what’s on view or what has an image. Previously, only 7,000 works were published online; today all 22,000 objects are available to the public via DMA.org, and nearly 11,000 of those have digital images.
In fact, more than 4,500 images are available for download without licensing fees or content restrictions. All images available via DMA.org continue to be freely available for non-commercial and educational use.
“It is only fitting that as one of the country’s 10 largest museums and the region’s only encyclopedic art museum, the DMA should provide free access to its global collection online,” said deputy director Robert Stein in a statement. “We are striving to make the DMA among the most innovative and openly accessible museums in the country and could think of no better way to continue that process than to enhance the public’s access to the art we care for here in Dallas through this project.”
The plan is to release additional high-resolution images of all works in the public domain for public use. Access to these images, along with information about each piece, will significantly enhance research and learning about the DMA’s collection. The digitization project should be completed by 2016 or earlier.