The aim of this paper is to analyze how technological innovation is reshaping the role and mission of museums as producers and distributors digital images of cultural collections. Based on a collection of case studies the authors identify the main shifting or emerging patterns in models for access and use to digital cultural collections due to changing users’ behavior and structure of production and access cost in the cyberspace. These changes create several key challenges and threats to museums as to their role of leading providers of authoritative and trusted content, to the profitability of digital collections and the adoption of new metrics to assess their social impact and public mission.