May 10, 2022
The Museum launches the new Online Collections platform
To mark its 100th anniversary, the McCord Museum is launching a new open access platform with bilingual descriptions of over 140,000 objects, photographs and archival documents from its collections. The site also features approximately 130,000 royalty-free images that may be downloaded in the highest resolution available, free of charge, with no restrictions on their use. Created to provide unparalleled access to the McCord Museum’s collections, the project is a first for the institution. The new platform, whose content will be constantly updated, was launched with the generous support of the Azrieli Foundation and Canadian Heritage.
The platform is a significant development in the digital transformation of the Museum, which operates in a field where more and more institutions are opening up their collections to disseminate them more widely.
“The open access concept is perfectly in line with the Museum’s social mission. Our new platform will make our collections accessible to more people, bringing our collective heritage to a wider audience. It is a major community legacy project to mark the Museum’s 100th anniversary,” remarked Suzanne Sauvage, President and Chief Executive Officer of the McCord Museum.
Since the high-resolution images can now be downloaded, the fees previously charged to obtain copies no longer apply. Museum staff will continue to supplement the descriptions and images on the Online Collections platform, adding thousands of new items every year.
Explore the collections
Historical content available with a single click
Designed for both history researchers and those who simply enjoy history, the Online Collections platform presents content on the social history and heritage of Montreal, Quebec and Canada. It targets a broad public—local and international—that includes researchers, students, professors, authors, journalists and the general public. It includes over 140,000 objects, photographs and archival documents from the combined Archives, Documentary Art, Dress, Fashion and Textiles, Indigenous Cultures, Material Culture and Photography collections of the McCord and Stewart museums.
The 130,000 images in the public domain, which may now be downloaded free of charge in the highest resolution available, are accompanied by descriptions and can be used in myriad ways: historical research, educational program development, illustrations for articles, reports, presentations and books, and commercial or decorative purposes. Among the subjects depicted are images from legendary photographer William Notman, works by several 19th century Canadian painters, Indigenous objects, clothing from the last three centuries, rare books, maps, antique weapons and scientific instruments. Other images not in the public domain are also available for information and research purposes.
“The Museum is thrilled to benefit from the generosity of the Azrieli Foundation and Canadian Heritage, whose support has enabled us to create this major platform to disseminate our collections. We are very grateful for their assistance,” added Suzanne Sauvage.
The rollout of the new platform offering open access to the online collections was made possible in part thanks to a remarkable $500,000 gift from the Azrieli Foundation. “We believe that arts and culture have the power to expand our understanding of the world and of one another. We also firmly believe that education plays a central role in improving our communities. The McCord Museum’s Online Collections platform embodies our beliefs by offering broad access to their impressive collections and enabling more immersive learning opportunities for all,” noted Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation.
Canadian Heritage is proud to contribute to this platform. An amount of almost $300,000 was allocated to this project under the Digital Access to Heritage component of the Museums Assistance Program. “Our government is pleased to support innovative projects that are in keeping with the times,” said Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “This digital platform will offer communities everywhere a window on our history. The McCord Museum has been an important part of the cultural legacy of Montréal, Quebec, and Canada for a century. This innovation will help ensure the preservation of the works representing the richness of our heritage. Congratulations to the team at the McCord Museum, and keep up the good work!”
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