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Museum Educational Site Licensing Project papers, 1983, 1992-1999, undated (bulk 1996-1998)

To access physical materials at the Getty, go to the library catalog record for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for general library access policy. See the Administrative Information section of this finding aid for access restrictions specific to the records described below. Please note, some of the records may be stored off site; advanced notice is required for access to these materials.
Guide to the Howard Besser Museum Educational Site Licensing Project Papers, 1983, 1992-1999, and undated

Administrative History

The Museum Educational Site Licensing (MESL) Project (1994-1997) was designed to explore the feasibility of networked distribution of digital museum content in educational settings. The Project grew out of two meetings held in March 1994, the first was sponsored by the Getty Art History Information Program (AHIP), and the second by MUSE Educational Media. The AHIP meeting's purpose was to announce the launch of a digital imaging initiative; the MUSE meeting's purpose was to discuss the results of a study for developing model licensing agreements for digital media on CD-ROMs. Detailed planning for the MESL Project took place during the summer of 1994 and involved David Bearman (President, Archives and Museum Informatics), Howard Besser (Associate Professor, Information and Library Studies, University of Michigan), Eleanor Fink (Director, AHIP), Geoffrey Samuels (Director, MUSE Museum Multimedia Study Group), and Jennifer Trant (Consultant, and Manager of the Imaging Initiative, AHIP).

The MESL Project was originally framed as a testbed demonstration project to bring together museums and universities to explore the administrative, legal, economic, technical and educational issues surrounding networked distribution of museum content for educational use. The organizational phase of the project was supported by AHIP and MUSE Educational Media. The second phase of the Project was supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and focused on studying the costs and benefits of networked distribution of digital museum information for educational use.

The Project was officially launched in September 1994 with the initial call for participation. Over 80 museums and universities submitted applications; 6 cultural institutions and 7 universities were chosen by the Project's Managing Committee. The cultural institutions were: The Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA; George Eastman House; Harvard University Art Museums; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the National Gallery of Art; and the National Museum of American Art. In 1995, the Library of Congress was added. The 7 universities were: American University; Columbia University; Cornell University; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Maryland at College Park; University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint; and the University of Virginia.




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