From today, listeners are able to browse a library of audio recordings on Radio 3's website, all accompanied by original photographs.
The archive includes material from the World Routes series, which started broadcasting on Radio 3 in 2000 and has since aired sessions from artists such as Youssou N'Dour, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Ravi Shankar.
World Routes travels to far-flung countries, including Haiti, Belize, Vietnam, Georgia, Madagascar and Cape Verde, to uncover endangered musical traditions.
Highlights from the archive include Andy Kershaw's trip to North Korea, which was the first radio show ever made entirely on location in the country. Users can also listen to Kershaw's Sony Award-winning series from Iraq.
The World Music Archive will also feature content from this weekend's WOMAD world music festival, which will be aired on Radio 3 for the tenth year running. All recordings in the archive are searchable by country or programme.
"There are documentaries here I'd forgotten I'd made, some of which uncover the music and the reality of life and in the world's most extreme, secretive, feared and misunderstood countries," said Kershaw.
"I'm amazed some of these regimes let me out. Even more amazed they let me in. Since joining Radio 3 in 2001, it seems I have seldom been home. This archive would explain why. And I haven't finished yet. Cautiously, I feel I'm getting the hang of this radio caper."
World Routes producer Lucy Duran added: "This archive is an unbelievable resource for anyone who has curiosity about the world: just visit the archive on the Radio 3 website, click on a programme, sit back, close your eyes, and travel with the World Routes team."
Opening up Radio 3's world music archive is part of the BBC's strategy to make more of its library material available for audiences in the UK.