Finding open content

A major effort among many of the world’s museums has lead to the concept of ‘open content’ – “Open content describes any work that others can copy or modify freely by attributing to the original creator, but without needing to ask for permission.” (from Wikipedia)

To help find such content, as well as actual public domain content (that out of or without copyright)

Free Art from the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has released a vast part of their collection as digital images for free (yes, unlimited, unrestricted) use.  They tally the count at 406,000 images.

Their details here:

This story details the public search access point, which gives individual images.

To use the images in a large system, there is an API for direct program access OR there is a slightly convoluted method that allow downloading the whole database as a CSV file and loading it where you wish.

    • 1: API Access:
      A REST style URL allowing searching access and returning various information including a URL to the actual Image.
      Details at:
    • 2: Full database download:
      This allows getting a full data dump with all the values returned by the API as one data file.
      The data points to CSV via a Github method for downloading large data sets:
      the “git-lfs” system
This is done by installing lfs
and then doing:
git lfs clone

This results in a CSV file, EXCEPT there are some embedded returns in the CSV so a direct CSV database load can not always be used.  I wrote a script to clean up the CSV to load directly into a mysql (MariaDB) database.  If you have trouble loading the data, email our contact form and we’ll help how we can.

Here is more about the project:

And other related projects:

DIY – Do it yourself – HowTo

Quick summary of steps to setup your own Video Art Wall

These instructions expect you to setup the Raspberry Pi with a full screen, keyboard and mouse. Once the software is setup, only the mouse is needed and the screen can be changed to a larger or wall mounted screen.

Note: This was setup for Raspbeery Pi 3 in 2019 and so does not full match current (2022) Rasp 4 or related Raspberry OS updates. 
Contact us if you want recent updates

The setup and final installation uses a HTMI video screen, a computer monitor or low priced TV screen can be used.

  1. Buy a Raspberry Pi kit and set it up running Raspbian, we like a complete kit sold by Canakit, since it has power supply, box, ram, and all cables.
  2. Setup an image display account at
  3. Get the account code from
  4. Update the raspberry PI OS and install the needed modules:

    apt-get update
    apt-get dist-upgrade

    apt-get install python-tk
    apt-get install python-pil
    apt-get install python-pil.imagetk
    apt-get install sqlite3

  5. Get the DEB file and install it on the Rasp PI:
  6. Install DEB file using dpkg -i wlm-home-raspi-0.0.deb
  7. Edit /home/pi/wlm-home/wlm.cfg and replace ‘demo’ with your account number

Once done your system is setup:

  • First, get the latest images selected on your wlm account (we are working on automating the update process).
    Using this approach allows the Art wall to operate without any network connection once initialized. The connection is only needed when new images are selected.
  • Click the Wlm@home icon to start the image display. The first image can take 15-20 secs to display and often is not sized right first time around. The images will cycle once all are shown

DIY – Do it yourself

Art display, created from a low priced TV and Raspberry Pi computer

24 inch TV mounted on the wall
Raspberry Pi B+,
controlled using just wireless mouse.

These images show the parts of the system.  The RaspPi is actually mounted just below the TV and behind the mounting OR in the wall behind the TV,  depends on what is easiest and looks best.

Needed for the project:

  • Hardware
    1. TV screen with HDMI connection – $70 and up
    2. Raspberry PI B+ with Rasputian OS – $35-65 depending on case and power options
    3. Standard mouse – USB connection, $10 and up.
  • Software
    1. WLM@home image stream – Free at
    2. How setup the Raspberry Pi
    3. Wlm display tool – Contact us for questions –

The images are sourced from many possible locations, two are:

Wlm@Home – Digital Virtual Museum

Samsung Frame

The Samsung Frame is a high end, 4K tv in a picture frame mount.  It is an art device, similar to others, in that it has a tightly curated art selection, a paid service or your own photos.  Since it is a Samsung Smart TV, it can run any aps from the Samsung library.  Since the Smart TV is basically an android, some Android aps.

Down side of the Samsung Frame is that it is only available in 55″ and 65″, there by setting a price of $1,999 or up (list price, sales often at $1,799)

More details and reviews at:

Sotheby’s is streaming the world’s best galleries


Step into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate galleries, or Taiwan’s National Palace Museum from your sofa.

Everyone’s favourite gallery is different. Some people like to peruse cubist sculptures in large minimalist rooms, others like to take in impressionist brushwork under the bows of classical architecture.Now though, you can access some of the world best galleries from the comfort of your own living room, as Sotheby’s steps into the digital age.

Detailed story here

The network is basically many short-ish videos from various galleries in major museums — not just images of art, so some good some bad news as to how useful.

Here is the actual network

Low cost large digital screen: NABI Big Tab

Nabi Big Tab is a 24 inch screen tablet for under $400.


More at:

The screen is mounted on a standup frame, that is on the heavy side, that still is mountable on a wall.

The Big Tab runs a kid friendly Android that can be unlocked into Mommy mode for running standard Android aps.

The downsides we are still exploring are: (1) it always starts in kid mode, (2) how to tag aps to run in Kids mode, (3) how to disable the wake up on local activities.  None of these are an issue for a public space, they are annoying when used at home.

There is also some question as to production availability – you need to go to NABI to determine current production.