Culture Victoria

Opening up Museum Collections

By DimityM Posted Under News

One of the purposes of Culture Victoria is to provide access to Victoria’s cultural collections.

We have thousands of collection objects represented via the stories on our site, and we provide an aggregated Collection Search across Victoria’s major cultural agencies and access to community museums via Victorian Collections.

With the exception of the Collection Search, all the content on the Culture Victoria website is curated and presented through stories, however we also recognise the importance of access to collection objects in a non-curated form.

While museums have been digitising images and working to provide digital access to collections for many years, the past few years has seen a huge increase in open collections around the world.

Organisations have recognised the benefits of making high resolution images of their collection items available online, and less restrictive creative commons and public domain licencing is being applied were possible. Relaxing copyright restrictions and making collections available online gives researchers, creators, educators and students a huge breadth of material to use, remix and reuse as desired.

Below are some great examples of how this is happening in Victorian cultural organisations.

Screenshot of MV Collections website

Museum Victorian Collections

The new Museum Victoria Collections website brings together over one million items from the MV humanities and natural sciences records. Alongside the catalogue records, there are over 150,000 images, 80,000 of which are available for re-use with a Creative Commons Attribution licence, and 31,000 images are in the public domain.


Screenshot of State Library Victoria Digital Image Pool

State Library Victoria Digital Image Pool

The State Library Victoria have created a digital image pool providing easy access to about 200,000 historical images from their collection, that are out of copyright or available to be reused. The library has recently run the #remixvic project on Instagram, encouraging Instagram users to upload remixed images from the collection. The library holds a wider range of images in its collection searchable via the full catalogue, but not all of these images are available for reproduction/reuse.


Screenshot of Victorian Collections website

Victorian Collections

Our sister project, Victorian Collections, makes collections from the small and medium museums sector accessible, with over 60,000 records available online, many with Creative Commons licencing options.

Other projects increasing access

A number of Victorian institutions such as ACMI, Museum Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria have also made some of their collections available at the Google Cultural Institute and Google Art Project.

TROVE run by the National Library of Australia aggregates over 460 million items from cultural collections across Australia, including many Victorian organisations.

Internationally, the OpenGLAM Open Collections project lists over 60 collections available online, many with high resolution files available for re-use.

If your museum is looking for ways to share your collection online, don’t hesitate to contact us or contact Victorian Collections to talk about the options available to Victorian collecting organisations.

If you are opening access to your collection in different ways, let us know about it in the comments section below.

comments powered by Disqus