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Free Access to 30,000 High-Res Images from collections

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Free Access to 30,000 High-Resolution Images from Te Papa’s digital collections

Te Papa has made 30,000 high quality, high resolution images available for free download from its Collections Online website,, as part of its commitment to providing open access licensing to images of the national collections.

From today (3 June 2014), visitors to the Collections Online website will be able to download, share and reuse a rich and diverse collection of high resolution digital images free of charge.

Te Papa made the commitment to increasing digital access to and sharing of the Museum’s collections in its Statement of Intent 2013/14. The Museum set a target to make 30,000 images available over three years at high resolution under No Known Copyright statement or Creative Commons licences. The Museum has already achieved its target due to the dedication of the project team, however Te Papa will continue to release a substantial number of collection images each year.

Similar initiatives have been successful in prominent museums and galleries in the USA and Europe, however Te Papa is the first museum in Australasia to deliver open access to its digital collections in such large quantities.

“These images from the national collection are a fantastic resource for New Zealanders,” Mr Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, said. “The Government’s Open Access Licensing Framework cuts red-tape, allowing the public to share and enjoy these thousands of images freely, as well as making them more readily available for use by professionals in the education, historical, cultural, and creative sectors. Te Papa is the national museum, so it is important that our nation’s taonga are accessible to as many New Zealanders as possible.”

Arapata Hakiwai, Te Papa’s Chief Executive and Kaihautū, says “Broader digital access provides an opportunity for deeper engagement of individuals and communities with the collections and taonga (treasures). By making these images of our national collections freely available, we hope to encourage people to use them in education, research, innovation, personal enrichment and as creative inspiration, while also enhancing the knowledge of these collection items. As kaitiaki (guardians) of the collections, this goes a long way to meeting our strategic priorities of increasing access to, and sharing our Nation’s treasures.”

Te Papa is delighted to be contributing to the international pool of open access resources and will also benefit from this work, as it means the Museum can freely use images provided by other institutions in its own research, publications, exhibitions and public programmes. This will also enable the Museum and others to participate in high profile online projects and contribute to collaborative digital platforms, such as the Google Art Project and Wikimedia Commons.

Phil Edgar, Acting Practice Leader Digital Futures at Te Papa, says “Te Papa has a large and wide ranging collection, and the requests we receive for images signal that our collections are relevant to New Zealanders in a diverse range of ways. We hope that with this initiative many of our collection images will be used by our online visitors in ways meaningful to them, and we are excited to see just how people will use the images. As more and more museums and libraries make their collections openly accessible in this way, the opportunities to collaborate and generate new knowledge from public collections grows enormously.”

The images will be available

Visitors to will notice that they can tick the box for a search “with downloadable images” and then click on a “Download” button at the bottom of the image for free access to the selected image.

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