April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Demonstrations: Description

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Digital Imaging Solutions - Collections Business Development & Strategic Partnerships

Sionan Burke, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
Debra LaKind, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

The Digital Image Resources Department (DIR), a division of Intellectual Property at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) was tasked with increasing revenue during a tumultuous time of economic uncertainty. In an effort to achieve this objective it was necessary to conceive a business development and strategic partnership plan that would creatively seeking new and alternate sources of revenue and not rely on the traditional licensing practices of the past. The plan identified four goals: (1) leverage existing intellectual property digital assets and infrastructure (2) to enter into low risk, high return-on-investment agreements, (3) align with reputable and successful partners to build the MFA brand and (4) make a minimal capital investment.

Since 2000 the MFA has sold Archival Replicas - Fine Art Prints, digital reproductions of works of art in the MFA collection. Presently, there are more than 200,000 digital images in the museum’s archive so utilizing the internet to promote the sale of Archival Replicas - Fine Art Prints met the four criteria defined above. A three phase plan was developed that included the following action items:

Phase I: Amazon

Create a Pro Merchant Account and launch an MFA branded WebStore utilizing the back-end expertise of Amazon. The Pro Merchant account allows customers of Amazon to purchase Archival Replicas – Fine Art Prints through the standard site; making them accessible to millions of customers already shopping on Amazon. The MFA branded Webstore enjoys the benefits of Amazon’s technology and expertise.

Phase II: eBay Store

Create an MFA branded eBay Store utilizing the back-end expertise of eBay. The eBay Store allows customers of eBay to purchase Archival Replicas- Fine Art Prints via PayPal . None of the products sold on eBay are available through auction – they have the "but it now" option.

Phase III: Google

Presently, there are hundreds of thousands of MFA collection images available on Google Images. Each image on Google includes a link back to the MFA On-line Collection Database where the user will find both scholarly information and commercial links on the object. The power of the Google search engine greatly increases the world’s access to the MFA Collection.

In addition to these strategic partnerships that will generate alternate sources of revenue the Digital Image Resources Department is providing custom imaging services or donors, lenders, Trustees and external clients. These services include digital photography, image archiving and storage and fine art reproductions. This is just another creative solution that leverages existing expertise and infrastructure.

Demonstration: Demonstrations II [Close Up]

Keywords: digital imaging, e-commerce, internet business development, intellectual property, fine art reproductions, revenue