GLAM/Case studies/Walters Art Museum

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Beginning in 2012, the Walters Art Museum, located in Baltimore, Maryland, began partnering with Wikimedians to further access and sharing of their collection consisting of over 35,000 objects. The Walters collection comprises, but is not limited to, ancient art from the likes of Egypt, Rome, and Greece, 19th-century art from around the world, Asian ceramics, Art Deco decorative arts, and one of the world's finest collections of Islamic art and illuminated manuscripts. The Walters is a free museum, and is considered the "people's" museum of Baltimore, thanks to the generous gift of Henry Walters, who bequeathed his collection to the City of Baltimore "for the benefit of the public." The Walters collection benefits the public in more innovative and broader ways than Mr. Walters could have imagined: through Wikipedia, the world's largest free encyclopedia and the 5th most popular website.

This case study covers the processes which took place to complete an image contribution of 18,000+ images to Wikimedia Commons, the transcription via WikiSource of Latin primary sources, the Walters changing their website licensing to be more open, and an internship modeled after the Wikipedian in Residence concept.

This partnership is ongoing and this case study will continue to evolve.


In 2011, Wikimedia DC partnered with the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Heritage to present GLAM-WIKI Baltimore, a two day event that consisted of a series of presentations aiming to educate GLAM professionals about opportunities for partnerships with Wikimedia. A series of presentations were given by Wikimedians Dominic McDevitt-Parks (then Wikipedian in Residence at the United States National Archives and Records Administration), Sarah Stierch (then Wikipedian in Residence at the Archives of American Art), and Katie Filbert (then President of Wikimedia DC), at the Walters Art Museum. These presentations and discussions served as the catalyst for working with the Walters Art Museum and signify the importance of in-person connecting and sharing.

GLAMcamp DC took place in February 2012, which brought together Wikimedians and GLAM professionals to focus on developing quality projects, resources, and programs for GLAM-WIKI in the United States. Dylan Kinnett, Manager of Web and Social Media at the Walters, attended the conference with the goal of working with Wikimedians to start the process of uploading over 18,000 high quality collections images to Wikimedia Commons. This was the first of a continued relationship with the Walters Art Museum, who has proceeded to serve as an example in the GLAM community of a museum paving the way for an open cultural institution.

The partnership between Wikimedians and the Walters Art Museum continues today.

Specific Walters Art Museum case studies[edit]

A collaboration between the Wikimedians and the Manager of Web and Social Media to upload over 18,000 images and their associated descriptions to Wikimedia Commons, and the proceeding license changes that took place on the Walters website.
The Walters developed an internship tailored around improving Wikipedia content and pulling inspiration from the Wikipedian in Residence model.
How staff partnered with Wikimedians versed in Latin and began the process of transcribing illuminated manscripts on WikiSource. This project is still in the development phases.

Further information[edit]

For further inquiry and information about this case study, please contact Sarah Stierch via sarahstierch﹫