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The British museum online collection

The British museum publishes one of the most extensive online museum collections in the world and partakes in the growing trend of cultural open data

The British Museum has about eight million objects in its collection, half of these are portrayed in the British Museum collection database. Visitors can choose from curated collections, including desire, love, identity and death and memory, as well as those focusing on the Americas, China and Africa, which reveal the fascinating stories behind the objects. A new online collection launched in early 2020 includes new records and allows for new ways to search.

Cultural open data is uploaded in the form of high-resolution images of art. The database of the British museum is one of the earliest and most extensive online museum search platforms in the world. There are currently 2,335,338 records available, which represent more than 4,000,000 objects. At least 1,018,471 records have one or more images.

The British museum normally gives free access to visitors of the permanent collection and now extends this service online. In this manner, people from all socio-economic backgrounds can continue to enjoy art and educate themselves and their children. The British museum is one of many cultural institutions that have started to share cultural open data (amid the COVID-19 pandemic). Other related use case examples on the website of the European Data Portal are the Gli Uffizi in Florence, the Vatican museums, the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and Musée d’Orsay in Paris.


The British Museum is one of the over 600 use cases published on the European Data Portal. If you are aware of another inspiring use case, share your experience and knowledge on different applications and websites using open data with the EDP via mail, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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