Creative Commons Receives $5M Grant from Arcadia to Advance Open Access at Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Eric Steuer

Today Creative Commons (CC) announced that it has received a five-year $5 million grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to advance open access in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) sector.

The generous grant will enable CC to develop a robust Open GLAM Program that builds upon the organization’s two decades’ worth of successes in facilitating openness in the education and digital culture spaces. The new program will be focused on enabling GLAMs to freely and openly share their collections online in participatory, interactive, sustainable, ethical, and equitable ways.

“Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums face unique barriers to embracing open access, even though their mission to make their collections widely accessible to the world is naturally aligned with open ideals,” says Catherine Stihler, CEO of Creative Commons. “CC’s Open GLAM Program will use a multifaceted approach to help build and support an ecosystem that empowers GLAMs and results in better public access to all that they have to offer.”

“Arcadia believes in making human knowledge free for anyone, anywhere to access and use,” says Dr. Ross Mounce, Director of Open Access Programmes at Arcadia. “We are pleased to support Creative Commons to help galleries, libraries, archives and museums meet the challenge of fair and equitable open access to our cultural heritage.”

Arcadia’s commitment will support Creative Commons in five key areas of work:

  • Creating a global policy environment conducive to GLAMs’ mission
  • Stewarding a sustainable social, technical and legal infrastructure for Open GLAM
  • Advancing GLAM practitioners’ knowledge and understanding of core issues and options
  • Moving a globally diverse range of institutions from closed to open
  • Sustaining an active and empowered Open GLAM community 

“We’re so grateful to Arcadia for investing in this important work,” says Stihler. “This year is Creative Commons’ 20th anniversary, and as we look toward the future, the Open GLAM Program is a cornerstone of how we will make knowledge and creativity more open and accessible to all in our next 20 years.”

Arcadia’s decision to fund Creative Commons’ Open GLAM Program follows several years of research and work by CC to develop a comprehensive vision for moving GLAMs from closed to open. In the last few years alone, the Paris Musées, Smithsonian Institution, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Auckland Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, and others have successfully released nearly 5 million digital open images using Creative Commons tools.

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping build and sustain a thriving commons of shared knowledge and culture. Together with an extensive member network and multiple partners, CC builds capacity, develops practical solutions, and advocates for better open sharing of knowledge and culture that serves the public interest.

About Arcadia

Arcadia is a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It supports charities and scholarly institutions that preserve cultural heritage and the environment. Arcadia also supports projects that promote open access and all of its awards are granted on the condition that any materials produced are made available for free online. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $777 million to projects around the world.