Using MET Public Domain Artwork

Recently, the Metropolitan Museum of Art made than 375,000 of its public-domain artworks available online. The Met’s images include those of items that are not currently on display, which gives you a chance to look behind the scenes.

This is a great resource for people who enjoy art and history, scholars, and genealogists!

You can find the search page at:



To limit your search to return only those results in the public domain, in the Show Only group, click the box for “Public Domain Artworks”.



When you view the results, there may be some that do not seem to be related to your search terms. Be sure to scroll down through the results. To scan through the results more quickly, you can choose to display a larger number of results per page.



Since I have been doing a lot of World War I research, I used the keywords: World War 1. That returned 5,964 results. It appeared that many of the results had the terms separately, such as world or war.
Searching for keywords: world war i returned 1,699 results. A number of these results were relevant to the First World War. There were several commercial color lithographs published by groups involved in the war effort, like the Red Cross and the Connecticut State Council of Defense.



Searching using the keywords and quotes around them “world war i” returned 84 results. Some were not related to the First World War.

I experimented using a numeral 1 instead of the letter i. “world war 1” returned 0 results.

Searching for keywords: WWI returned 17 results. One was lace shawl handmade by a member of the Royal Family in England that was donated to the British War Relief Committee during WWI.

Next, I tried searching for keywords: St Mihiel. Two of the results were related to St. Mihiel in WWI. Other St. Mihiel results included engravings and etchings from the opera and ballet.



To learn more about the website, check out

To see all Open Access items, go to!?showOnly=openaccess

Visit this website, and try out some searches for a topic you are researching. Remember to vary your search terms and try different combinations of words relating to your topic. Look for artwork that you can use about:

  • A state you are researching
  • A country or place you are researching
  • An event you are researching

Good luck!