This well-known adage has become even more meaningful to me since joining the Canadian Museum of Nature in 2019 as a Collections Information Technician and Digital Asset Manager. Over the past two years, I have had the privilege to dive into the Museum’s physical and digital image collection housed within the Library and Archives located in the museum’s Natural Heritage Campus collections facility. 

The Museum has a rich repository of images that document our knowledge of and respect for the natural world, with over 95K digitized images of historical and contemporary images of specimens, fieldwork trips, and our popular Nature Art collection. The only problem is that our digital image collection database is only currently accessible by internal staff. What a shame to have so many beautifully preserved and documented images and no means of sharing them! That is why, with the support and assistance of many helpful colleagues, we decided that the best solution was to join forces with Google to set up a page on their Google Arts and Culture platform.  

In April 2021, the Library and Archives team began working on this project. We met with the Google Arts and Culture team (virtually, of course), discussed the project and what our goals were, and learned how to build the site. The next step was to decide which images we wanted to prioritize for our first upload. Our aim was to select charismatic images that already included robust metadata so we could launch the site as quickly as possible. 

With these goals in mind, the Library and Archives team and I knew that we wanted to include the beautiful original watercolours from B.L. Williamson’s “Reflections on the Fungaloids” that are held in the Nature Art Collection.  

An artistic representation of a white mushroom on cardstock.
Clitocybe multiceps 
18.7 x 31.8 cm  Gouache over graphite on card  
“Reflections on the Fungaloids” by B.L. Williamson, Ottawa, 1992. ISBN 1-894572-65-3 
Image: B.L. Williamson © Canadian Museum of Nature   

We also had some eye-catching watercolours from John A. Crosby originally featured as illustrations in “The Birds of Canada” by W. Earl Godfrey (1986). 

Watercolour artwork of several different types of birds ranging in colour and size.
Bird of Prey 
35.5 x 45.5 cm  Watercolour on artist board 
“The Birds of Canada” by W. Earl Godfrey published in 1986 by the National Museum of Natural Sciences. 
Image: John Crosby © Canadian Museum of Nature   

The Nature Art Collection also holds historical zoological prints from Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix (c. 1700s) and Jacob Xaver Schmuzer (c. late 18th century).

Four images of fish species ornately drawn.
Zoological Print: Fische XXI  
21.5 x 27 cm Copper plate engraving with aquatint 
Jacob Xaver Schmuzer, Late 18th century 
© Public Domain

And finally, with CMN researchers returning to fieldwork in the Arctic and around the world, I wanted to make sure we included some amazing images from the more remote areas in Canada.  

Small delicate purple flowers with five petals growing out of rocks on the ground.
“Saxifraga oppositifolia, Resolute NU, CMN Arctic Botany Expedition 2017.” Image: Paul Sokoloff © Canadian Museum of Nature   

You can find all these images and more on the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Google Arts and Culture page launching November 30, 2021. These are just a small sample of the images that the Museum has to offer and we are working to add more so check back often. For more information or inquiry to license our images, please contact We are happy to help you use them.