Hi Michael, 

I think you are asking about artists visiting the museum to create “art,” and not asking about what to do with images produced by researchers at the museum; correct?

I think issuing a contract, requesting a proposal and charging an appropriate fee/accepting a donation is important in validating that the artist is an active creative professional.  Otherwise, photography being such a large commercial hobby, you may have visitors more prone to mishandling and damaging specimens, especially if it’s simply for the prospect of selling images to a Hilton or Best Western.   

I had worked with an artist, Fiona Pardington, a few years back to complete an artwork modeled after Vladimir Nabokov and his butterflies.  Prior to accessing the specimens, Fiona drafted a proposals (detailed in links below) on the aesthetic significance in addition to making a suitable contribution and/or paying an hourly rate to all 3 institutions visited.  This allowed her and I access to the lepidoptera and historical document collections.  They were at Cornell University, New York Public Library and Natural History Museum in Lausanne Switzerland.

Hope this might provide some insight.  Happy Holidays! 

Mark R Smith, M.S.
[log in to unmask] | 410.870.5566

On Dec 21, 2019, at 2:03 PM, Droege, Sam <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


We keep all our photos (catelog of ~4500) public domain, no requirements even for attribution, we even tell people not to email us for permission as we allow all uses.  This works for us, minimizes time spent corresponding, and the pictures are very widely circulated which ultimately benefits us more (imo) than putting any restrictions on them.  A number of artists have used them, as well as book/album covers advertisements, books, magazines and many conservation/natural history groups.

Our pictures are located here:


From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Michael Wall <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2019 7:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] outside photography of collections for profit


I’ve been getting a lot of requests from artists who want to do photography in the collection. One, in particular, wants to do a series of photos to mass produce and sell commercially as décor for chain hotels and what not. Do your collections have a policy on photography for profit? If so, would you be willing to share?