Use of Collections Data and Images

The Field Museum releases its collections data under the CC0 public domain waiver. Thiswaiver places our biodiversity collections data in the public domain, and we decline to enforce any intellectual property rights we may have in it. The Museum also makes its multimedia based on collections items and specimens publicly available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) license. This allows for the distribution, publication, and remixing of media for any non-commercial purpose, as long as you credit the Field Museum and follow the other requirements of the Creative Commons license.  

Sharing our collections with the world

By adopting the CC0 waiver and CC BY-NC license, we follow the lead of GBIF, Europeana Foundation, Canadensys, VertNet, and Open Data Commons—organizations who invest similarly in data sharing, ethics, and copyright. When using and publishing Field Museum data, please follow our recommended data practices. By doing so you join a global effort to increase the discoverability of data and unlock their potential. You help make the biodiversity data world an easier and more equitable place to work.

With open data, we encourage scientific inquiry and debate by providing resources that foster collaboration and innovation. We also promote data standards by crediting researchers, reducing the duplication of data, and maximizing transparency and accountability. Explore the Field Museum's biodiversity data on aggregators like GBIF and VertNet.

Media agreement

The Field Museum may require a signed agreement with media creators in order to allow us to use the media in our collections management system. This agreement applies only to visiting researchers accessing, using, and/or borrowing collections items.

Members of culturally affiliated groups, e.g., Native American and Indigenous communities, can amend the terms of the media agreement based on their practices or protocols. For more information, contact members of our Repatriation Team at

Artistic work falls outside the agreement, though artists should contact the Field Museum to discuss what they can do with the work once completed. 

The media agreement applies to any media created from Field Museum collections items and specimens, including but not limited to:

  • Photographs
  • CT scans
  • 3D models
  • Image sets
  • Moving image records
  • Sound records
  • Scientific illustrations
  • Photogrammetry

Factual data, e.g. measurements, place and date of origin, about collections items and specimens, is exempt from the agreement. 

Review the media agreement