Museums today are in a state of rapid change. Many are facing the reality that in order to reach larger numbers of people, their model for making content available is going to need to change. Museums are now making access to imagery of works within their collections easier. This is now a global phenomenon. As a result, many museums are making their content available in an open and free way (to use) to those who view their web sites. The image that I have used of Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises is owned by the Getty Museum in California. The image of that painting is available for personal and professional use. Some museums have NO limit to how the images are used, while others have some restrictions, such as unlimited noncommercial use. To find out the specifics, you will need to read the fine print. The rule to remember is that artwork by an artist is part of the public domain once the artist has been deceased for 70 years or more from today’s date. You will need to know this information before publicly sharing an image. you may also have to provide attribution if you use the image publicly (meaning where the image comes from, the location of the museum, the arts, the medium, and perhaps it’s dimensions and date of creation). Some museums have begun offering their image licenses free of charge through a movement called the creative commons zero which grants anyone who uses proper attribution of their images free use of the artwork image.
To assist you in this effort, I am including a list of links to a variety of museums world-wide who have open content. A sampling of them: