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AMICO Logo Art Museum Image Consortium: enabling educational use of museum multimedia
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AMICO Press Release

Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO) Founded:
Collections of over Twenty Art Museums to be Digitally Available for Educational Use

New York, NY - October 15, 1997 - The Association of Art Museum Directors Educational Foundation, Inc. announces the formation of the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), a non-profit organization that will provide educational access to a joint multimedia digital library documenting works of the collections of the major North American art museums.

"AMICO is an unprecedented collaborative effort of many of the world's leading art museums. It seeks to make a sustained and significant contribution to the education of our young people about the history of art and its usefulness in studying countless aspects of the humanities and social sciences. The digitized text, images, audio tours and multimedia being created in museums provide a rich source of content for on-line curriculum, and interest in their use is growing. AMICO will offer non-proprietary, networked access to images of the information about works of art scattered in dozens of major collections, and allow the casual user and scholar alike to sample and research works of art in our collective care," stated Maxwell L. Anderson, Director, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Director, Art Museum Network ( Both information providers and users acknowledge that new economic and social models are required to support the desired uses of digital information in learning, teaching, and research. A not-for-profit Consortium that licenses the content of museums collectively is a means of distributing museums' digital information to the educational community.

The directors and representatives of the founding art museums (see below) desire to take advantage of an emerging new educational opportunity. "Reaching out together through new technology, we can bring our collections closer to those who use them for research, education, and enjoyment. This unprecedented collaboration amongst art museums will create a rich resource, unique in its scope and depth," said Hugh M. Davies, President of the Association of Art Museum Directors and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.

Working together through a six-month planning process, member museums have defined mechanisms for the collection and distribution of a multi-media digital library documenting and interpreting their collections.

Prior to announcing the full availability of its digital library, AMICO is launching a year-long testbed project. The founding members wish to validate the proposed framework for the collective licensing of museum digital collections, and to evaluate a means of delivering this content to the higher educational community. The university testbed project will also increase understanding of the ways that universities are adopting digital teaching and reference tools and enable AMICO member museums to offer a Library that meets the needs of its users. A call for participation in the AMICO University Testbed can also be found at

Working within AMICO enables members to fulfill their educational missions. By using digital technologies museums have the opportunity to make their cultural resources more relevant and accessible to a wide range of educators and students. This is the first step toward using these resources creatively to illustrate and explore history, art, and culture. By reaching out into the community, AMICO members hope to engage more students with art, developing a visually and culturally literate public that, in turn, comes to the museum.

A set of agreements were drafted by Archives & Museum Informatics, who acted as consultants and facilitators throughout the AMICO planning process. These include frameworks for organizing the Consortium, governing its strategic planning, developing a standards-based approach to the distribution of the AMICO Library, and defining its products and licenses. Key among these are the draft University and Museum licenses that outline the terms under which the Library will be offered to these communities. AMICO's framework documents are available for public comment at:

AMICO Founding Members:
1. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
2. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
3. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
4. Asia Society Gallery, New York, NY
5. Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
6. Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
7. Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley, MA
8. Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
9. George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
10. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
11. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
12. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
13. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
14. Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
15. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal, Quebec
16. Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec
17. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
18. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
19. National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC
20. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
21. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
22. San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
23. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis MN

Other AAMD members are expected to join the Consortium following the initial offering.

About the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD): The AAMD represents 170 directors of the largest art museums in the Untied States, Canada, and Mexico. The membership meets twice a year to explore topics in the arts and education as well as to participate in programs on professional development and management. The President is Hugh M. Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. The Executive Director is Millicent Hall Gaudieri. Further information about AAMD can be found at

About Archives & Museum Informatics. Since 1986, A&MI has consulted for archives and museums worldwide, organized conferences, workshops and seminars and published journals and monographs that provide specialists in archives and museum information systems with timely and challenging opportunities for professional exchange and training. The consulting services emphasize strategic planning, inter-institutional collaboration and standards based solutions. Further information about A&MI can be found at


In June of 2005, the members of the Art Museum Image Consortium voted to dissolve their collaboration. This site remains online for archival reasons.