The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, today announced a new API that will provide access to 406,000 images from the The Met collection, all available to use free of copyright or restriction. The Met Collection API is a step forward for the museum’s Open Access Program and hopes to make the art collection, “one of the most accessible, discoverable, and useful on the internet.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) first introduced its Open Access initiative in February of 2017, and has been expanding its reach ever since. Initially, only partial information was provided programmatically to users, via a GitHub repository. This solution was far from perfect and limited access to “tombstone data”, e.g. title, maker, date, culture, medium, and dimensions. With the introduction of the Met Collection API, developers can now more easily access a greater portion of the museum’s digitized content, including almost half a million images.
In the announcement Loic Tallon, Chief Digital Officer, had this to say about the impact of API access:
One of the key benefits of having an API is that, as The Met digitizes new public-domain artworks in the collection, and as new artworks enter the public domain each year, these will be automatically added to the API…
Along with the announcement of the API, we also got news of an enhanced partnership with Google. By integrating this new API with the Google Arts & Culture app, the museum increased their presence on the platform from 757 manually added items, to over 200,000. This partnership also saw an integration with Google Knowledge GraphTrack this API, helping to make Google search even smarter.