Hood Museum Joins Open Access Community

The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, is pleased to announce that it is now a member of the open access community! We are excited to join a long list of museums including the Cooper Hewitt, Yale University Art Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, and others.

As of October 31, all online visitors will have the ability to download Hood Museum collection photography of works in the U.S. public domain. This feature is offered free of charge through our search-the-collection portal. 

To download images, follow these steps:

  1. Click here to visit our online search-the-collection portal.
  2. Follow the keyword search tips to optimize your search.
  3. Click on the work of art whose image you would like to download.
  4. If the image is available for download, you will see "download image" beneath "enlarge" to the right of the image(s).
  5. Click on "download" and the image will automatically appear in the folder you have chosen in your browser's settings.


A screen shot of the Hood Museum's website. It is an object landing page with a red arrow overlaid to communicate where the download button is.

Please note: All open-access images available for download are the largest files that the museum possesses.

Joining the open access community is an initiative that supports the Hood Museum's mission and especially its strategic goal of enabling greater access to museum resources. This upgrade was made possible through a collaboration between the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth Web Services, Dartmouth Information, Technology, and Consulting, and OHO Interactive.

FAQs: Open Access and Public Domain

When do works of art move into the public domain?
Generally, U.S. copyright law protects works of art during their artist's lifetime plus an additional 70 years, after which the works move into the public domain.

What does "public domain" mean?
A work is in the public domain if it is not protected by copyright. A work in the public domain may be ineligible for protection, its protection may have expired, or it may have been placed in the public domain by its creator. Works in the public domain may be freely used without permission of a former copyright holder.

Consult the U.S. Copyright Office, Cornell University, and Creative Commons Zero (CC0) for additional information on copyright and public-domain terms and definitions.

What am I allowed to use public domain images for?
These images are for non-commercial use and are made available for publications, teaching, and scholarship.

When using an image, we request that you attribute the maker of the artwork, as well as the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth. (See FAQ below.)

How should I cite and credit an open-access image that I have downloaded from the Hood Museum's website?
Open-access images do not require attribution or credit, but as an educational institution, the museum hopes that you will do so. The information necessary for proper citation is available on the object's page.

Format: Maker, title of work given by artist, year or exact date made, materials. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: object credit line; accession number. Object photographer [if given].

Example: Lilly Martin Spencer, The Jolly Washerwoman, 1851, oil on canvas. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through a gift from Florence B. Moore in memory of her husband, Lansing P. Moore, Class of 1937; P.993.25.


A screen shot of the Hood Museum's website. It is an object landing page with light green boxes around the object's information needed for captioning.

Is there a way to search for works in the public domain on the Hood Museum's website?
Yes! We have added a filter to our search portal that will only bring up objects that are in the public domain and have been photographed by the Hood Museum.

Why are some images of artworks on the Hood Museum's website not designated as open access?
These are the most typical reasons:

  • The work is still under copyright or its copyright status is unclear.
  • Privacy or publicity issues exist.
  • The work is not fully owned by the museum.
  • Contractual restrictions specified by the artist, donor, or lender preclude open access.
  • The museum has not yet produced a quality digital image of the work.

Requests for Images of Artworks Under Copyright or Other Restrictions, or Unavailable Images

All requests for permission to use an image from the collection must include:

  • the intended use;
  • the publisher or distributor;
  • the expected date of publication or use; and
  • the deadline by which the photograph is required.

Requests must be emailed to Hood.Museum.Photo.Services@dartmouth.edu. Requests by phone are not accepted.

We will try to respond within five business days; however, response time may be longer during federal and/or College holidays. For artworks that are not imaged or that require new photography, please allow for a one- to three-month turnaround time (based on artwork size, location within storage, and photographer availability).

The museum does not license images for commercial use.

Click here to read more about the museum's image-request policy.

Written October 31, 2023