Subject Research Guides

Visual Resources Guide

Art and Cultural History

The Bridgeman Art Archive
A collection of cultural and historical art images from museum collections around the world. Part of Bowman Library's subscription database Credo Reference.

A database of 65,000 images, compiled by the California State University system and freely available for educational purposes; categories include art and architecture, history, material culture, science, and more.

Art Images for College Teaching
A free-use educational resource containing art and architecture images from several periods in history.

Designed by two art professors, this multimedia site is meant as an accompaniment or substitute for the standard art history text. Organized by time, style, artist, and theme.

Web Gallery of Art
A virtual museum with a searchable database covering European art from 1100 to 1850. A free resource for students and teachers.

World Art Treasures
Search by country, artist, and period from prehistoric times to the 20th century.

Great Archaeological Sites
Images and virtual tours of archaeological sites from around the world from prehistory to the Middle Ages, mostly in France. Also includes one Romanian and two Egyptian sites.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Search for works of art in the museum's collection using the collection database, the curatorial departments, or the Timeline of Art History.

Illuminated Manuscripts Collection from the British Library
Images of illuminated manuscripts from the 8th to the 15th centuries. Zoom-in and enlargement options for ease of viewing.

Art History Resources on the Web
A collection of web links to art and cultural history sources on the web, compiled by an art history professor at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Organized by period and type of art.


Digital Egypt for Universities
From the Petrie Museum of Archaeology in London, this teaching and research tool is intended for use in higher education. Content (images and text) includes archaeology, communications, technology, and sciences.

BBC History
Text, image galleries, animations, and videos from ancient history through modern.

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution
Essays, images, texts, maps, etc. written and edited by two acclaimed French history scholars, and produced by George Mason University and the City University of New York.

Imaging the French Revolution; Depictions of the French Revolutionary Crowd
Images of crowds and crowd violence during the French Revolution, as well as an essay that interprets the roles of women in the Revolution. From George Mason University.

Vistas: Visual Culture in Spanish America 1520-1820
Images and more about Spanish America.

Mexico: From Empire to Revolution
Getty Institute photographs that chronicle Mexican history from 1857 to 1923.

Art of the First World War
An exhibition of 100 paintings that depict the First World War. Click on the British/American flag for English.

World War One Color Photos
Color photographs of the First World War.

Seventeen Moments in Soviet History
Primary source material, including images and maps, of the Soviet era.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery
Free access to the very large collection of digital images from the New York Public Library. Far-ranging collections on topics that include history and geography, industry and technology, culture and society, and arts and literature.

Library of Congress American Memory Collection
Digital collection on many aspects of the American experience. Includes photographs, maps, ephemera, and more, all from the collections at the Library of Congress.

Calisphere - A World of Primary Sources and More
Digital images of photographs, posters, ephemera, and diaries from California history. A project of the University of California.

ECHO (Exploring and Collecting History Online)
A directory of more than 5,000 websites devoted to the history of science, technology, and industry. Search by keyword, historic period (including ancient, middle ages, and early modern), or content, such as images. From George Mason University's Center for History and New Media.

Life Photo Archive
Photos from the archives of Life magazine going back as far as the 1750s. Very useful for American history and culture.


David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
A digital collection of over 20,000 maps from the 18th and 19th centuries; covers the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. Includes zoom-in tools for ease of viewing.

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection
Over 11,000 maps from all parts of the world from the University of Texas collection. Includes historical, as well as maps of current interest. Also includes links to many other digital map collections.

Library of Congress Map Collections
Maps from the collections of the Library of Congress. Includes maps of cities, towns, and countries, discovery and exploration, cultural landscapes, and transportation and communication, as well as others. Maps of the world as well as the Americas are included.

Mapping History
From the University of Oregon, this project provides "interactive and animated representations of fundamental historical problems and/or illustrations of historical events, developments, and dynamics." Covers American, European, Latin American, and African history.

Analyzing Images

Material Culture - Images
Written by an art historian at UCLA, this essay includes discussion of the meaning of images, images as symbols, understanding the social contexts in which images are placed, and considering the social conditions under which images were made. Also includes a sample analysis of a map and a good bibliography on visual culture.

Copyright Issues for Using Images

Many of the image resources listed above allow for free use for educational purposes. However, users are advised to search within each website to see what kinds of rights are allowed. For more complete information on copyright issues and images, see Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia from the University of Texas.

Page Last Updated: January 25 2016

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Research Tips

These Research Guides have been prepared by librarians to assist with your research. Read more:

Evaluating Web Resources

Critically Analyzing Information Sources

Searching Electronic Resources Effectively

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