Pushing through what stops most from trying something new: overthinking and feeling awkward

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Rowel Spur ca. 1400, French or Spanish, Catalonia from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access Collection

I like to experiment with open access art, and a few years ago, created an Instagram account with the intention of following only museums. I live in a small area outside of Seattle, and it’s unlikely that I’ll actually visit all the museums I follow, but the account gives me a window into inspirational art, exhibitions and creative projects from more than one thousand museums.

In the last two weeks hashtags #visitfromhome and #museumfromhome started coming up across museums with greater frequency. For museum professionals that are posting, it’s a way to document how they’re approaching the museum now that they’re working at home. I was moved and impressed to see museums like the Peabody Essex and the Exploratorium in San Francisco posting about donating masks to hospitals. …

When museums add transparency to ownership records and the copyright determination process, they can reduce risk — and increase confidence in the creative re-use of art by the public.

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Edgar Degas, Frieze of Dancers, c.1895 | Cleveland Museum of Art Open Access Collection

If you’re developing a publication or an image based product, but you’re not confident about how to confirm whether a work of art is in the public domain, frankly it’s easier to just stay away from using art entirely.

Museums including the Barnes Foundation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art work hard to provide free re-use of public domain works in their collections. However, for the person who wants to re-use the work, the fine print says determination is at the risk of the person who deploys the materials.

“Copyright is really hard, and sometimes you just need someone to say, it’s going to be okay.” …


Rachel Wright

Culture Advocate & Entrepreneur

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