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Visual Resources: List of Image Collections

Digital Image Collections

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Academic Library Collections
Public Library Collections

Museum Collections

Open Access/ Free Images for Academic & Scholarly Use
Stock Photography
Specialized Image Collections by Topic

Curated Lists of Image Collections

Academic Library Collections

Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries – Archival Image Collection.
Another great resource for digital images. Collection strengths in late 19th-20th century American architecture.

CalPhotos: Berkeley University Digital Library Project
Over 80,000 photographs of plants, animals, people, and landscapes from Corel Stock Photos, and DWR Photos.

China between 1917 and 1932 (Duke University Libraries) 
Collection of Sidney D. Gamble (1890-1968).

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture (University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries)
"...collects and creates electronic resources for study and research of the decorative arts, with a particular focus on Early America." Includes electronic texts, journals, image databases, and information on organizations, museums and research facilities.

Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History (Duke University) 
Over 9,000 images relating to the early history of advertising (1850-1920) in the United States.

UCLA Image Resources
Image Resources guide including Creative Commons, Open Content, & Public Domain images.

Yale Digital Commons
250,000 images "without license" from Yale Center for British Art, Yale Peabody Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, and Yale University Library.

Yale University Online Digital Collections
Access to a cross-collection of over 500,000 images in selected Yale Library Digital Collections.

Public Library Collections

Library of Congress Digital Collections
Online collections containing maps, photographs, letters, and more. Read about Copyright and the Collections.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog 
Thousands of digitized images with catalog records from 54 historic collections. Some images in the collections are not accessible online.

The New York Public Library Digital Gallery
Over 800,000 images digitized from primary and rare print sources in the NYPL collections including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more. Browsable categories include Arts and Literature, Cities and Buildings, Culture and Society, History and Geography, Industry and Technology, Nature and Science, Printing and Graphics and Gallery Collections. Also available, a Flickr photostream.

The New York Public Library/Mid-Manhattan Library Picture Collection Online
A collection of 30,000 digitized images from books, magazines and newspapers as well as original photographs, prints and postcards, mostly created before 1923.

Museum Collections

The British Museum
Free Non-Commercial Use Images.

Cleveland Museum of Art Open Access Images
Over 34,000 images dedicated to Public Domain with Creative Commons Zero (CC0) for Open Access.

Currier Museum of Art
A quick resource guide for fair use images.

Frick Collection
The Frick Collection's digital archive of over 150,00 images, photographs, books, and archives.

George Eastman Museum Collections
"A steadily growing digital image sampler and browsing resource for the vast photography holdings of George Eastman House." Browse images in Photography, Moving Image, Technology, or the Legacy collection.

Getty Museum Collection
100,000+ high resolution, reproduction-quality digital images of artworks from the J. Paul Getty Museum collections available for download with embedded metadata. Includes: Foto Arte Minore collection of 72,000 Max Hutzel photographs of art and architecture in Italy and nearly 5000 images of 15th-18th century tapestries. The Getty Search Gateway offers a search of all Getty repositories including collections databases, library catalogs, collection inventories, and archival finding aids.

Image Library has about 20,000 high-res digital downloads for any use.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
More than 200,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in the Museum’s world-renowned collection may be downloaded directly from the Museum’s website for non-commercial use.

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Art history reference and research tool with more than 7,000 works of art, accompanied by 300 chronologies and 1,000 essays.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Over 60,000 high-res images available for download.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Open Access Images
More than 51,000 open access digital images (in the public domain) that are up to 3000 pixels each. Downloads available with registration.

Rauschenberg Research Project (SFMOMA)
Provides zoomable images of artworks created by Robert Rauschenberg.

The Rijksmuseum
Offers high-res digital downloads free for non-commercial use.

Smithsonian Open Access
Over 2.8 million high-resolution 2-D and 3-D images from all Smithsonian museums, research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Includes 27,000+ photographs and 4,600+ moving image records.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Search for over half a million works and images from the V&A collections. The database covers a wide range of objects, including ceramics, fashion, furniture, glass, metalwork, paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture, and textiles.

The Walters Art Museum
Thousands of high-quality digital images of artworks from around the world and across the centuries available for download.

Open Access/ Free Images for Academic & Scholarly Use

Art Images for College Teaching (AICT) 
Images of art and architectural works in the public domain made available on a free-access, free-use basis to all levels of the educational community, as well as to the public at large. Emphasis on ancient, medieval, and Renaissance European art and architecture.

Art Institute of Chicago Public Domain Images
Over 40,000 images from the collection available for download under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.

Artstor Public Collections
Powered by Artstor, this freely accessible platform includes over 1 million images, videos, documents, and audio files. 

Artsy Education
An educational resource containing 85,000+ digital images of artworks and architecture (25,000+ downloadable) , including one of the largest collections of contemporary art. Offers tips related to downloading, exploring, and teaching with digital images.

British Library in Flickr Commons
Over 1,000,000 images in the public domain scanned from 17-19th century books, including maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more.

CC Search
Tool that searches over 300 million images from publicly available repositories of open content, including Europeana, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library, Rijksmuseum, Cleveland Museum of Art, and more.

College Art Association
A select list of sources for ‘Free Images for Academic/ Scholarly Use’

Digital Public Library of America
Refine your search to images from America's leading libraries, archives, and museums in this aggregate of online digital collections, containing over 650,000 images.

Google Art Project
Collaborative open-access project between Google and over 150 art partners worldwide. "Users can explore a wide range of artworks at brushstroke level detail, take a virtual tour of a museum and even build their own collections to share."

Google Material Design icons
Open-source package of 750 icons targeted for designers and developers for use in mobile apps and interactive projects. Preview icon set

The International Advertising & Design Database (IADDB)
Includes high resolution scans of advertisements, posters, magazines, as well as streaming commercials.

Internet Archive Book Images
2.6 million images with searchable tags.

Library of Congress - Free to Use and Reuse Sets
Select images from full LOC collections that are in public domain and grouped into browsable sets like architecture & design, posters, and dogs.

Wellcome Images
Over 100,000 images available for free download as hi-res images, including historical content such as manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements and 'themes around medicine and the wider history of health.'

Wikimedia Commons
An aggregate of a number of institutions' free content.

Stock Photography

Hundreds of stock photography sites exist, but below are a few good examples.

Getty Images
Creative and editorial images with an embed feature that allows users to share images on websites, blogs, or social media.

High resolution images photographed by designer, Ryan McGuire. Available for download and categorized into subjects animals, nature, objects, people, urban, whimsical.

Life of Pix
Free high resolution images donated to the public domain with new images added weekly. Categorized by subject in the gallery. Made by LEEROY Creative Agency in Montreal

Magnum Photos (Incorporated into Artstor - March 2009)
500,000 online images chronicling major world events and personalities.

Over 380,000 public domain and high resolution images in browsable categories. 

Public Domain Review
Hundreds of images with descriptions.


Time & Life Pictures (Getty Images)
Over 425,000 digital files of 20th century original prints and negatives archived

One of the best sources for public domain photos and free images on the web. 10 new photos added every 10 days. 

Specialized Image Collections by Topic

Scholarly resources from and about Africa including digital images of Africa and its many cultures.

Digital Library (White House Historical Association) 
Free, low-resolution downloads to registered users as well as extensive, detailed metadata for images covering the history of the White House.

History of Medicine (US National Library of Medicine) 
60,000 images from the prints and photography collection of the History of Medicine Division.

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google
Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today.

Mary Evans Picture Library 
Provides professionals with a growing collection of historic pictures for reproduction to support their archive. Image collections divided into categories of: art and costume, beliefs, events, portraits, science and medicine, trade and industry, social sciences, places and nature, politics and law, sports and entertainment, places and nature, transport. Registration to access the site is required.

Maya Cities of the Puuc Region, Yucatán, Mexico: Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, & Labná
Provides 19th and early 20th century drawings, prints, and photographs, most rare or previously unpublished, revealing how sites were imaged by early explorers and scholars. Plus over 1000 recent photographs with descriptive captions.

Scholars Resource
Offers 116,000 digital images of works of art to supplement teaching in Ancient Art, Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Non-Western, Early Christian, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Nineteenth Century, Impressionism, American Art, Art of the Americas and Contemporary Art and Architecture. Digital Image Sets are viewable and images may be purchased individually. Please contact the Arts Resources Specialist for more details.
Contains 2,500+ Western signs, arranged into 54 groups according to their graphic characteristics ranging from ancient ideograms to hobo signs and subway graffiti. Includes articles of symbol histories, uses, and meanings.

Visual Collections Site (Cartography Associates)
Over 50 collections and 300,000 images from museums, universities, and private collections worldwide. Topics divided into Cartography, Fine Arts, Architecture, Photography, etc. images from Museums, Universities and private collections throughout the world.

Zimbabwe Rock Art
These images are on Flickr by Steve Tatum. They are for educational, non-commercial use.

Curated Lists of Image Collections

Brown University Art & Architecture Images
An annotated compilation list that includes notes when images are freely available.

Purchase College Library – Finding Images
Divided by subject: Art, News & Historical, Science

University of Colorado, Boulder
List of select image resources.

University of Minnesota Libraries – Images Collections Guides
Comprehensive images guides divided by subject: Arts, Humanities, Professional Programs (Architecture/ Journalism/ Marketing/ Apparel), Agricultural Biological & Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, University/ Regional/ Creative Commons, Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering

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