Preparing your Toolkit Lesson:

Please consult Washington and Lee’s Academic Image Use guide “Finding and Using Images.” In addition, a number of sites provide access to free open-access images that you can use freely in your toolkit. Check back frequently for updates to this list of image resources.


  • The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science.
  • The Getty Research Portal. Access digitized art history publications, rare books, and related literature.
  • Flickr Creative Commons. Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search through content under each type of license. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables authors to generate licenses that grant one of six different sets of sharing and usage privileges that are easy for users to understand. You can search CC licensed content at all of which you are free to use in accordance with the terms of the license. All of the CC licenses require citation.
  • The Library of Congress American Memory. Free and open access to thousands of still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. Some images are still under copyright, check restrictions here.
  • The National Gallery of Art. “More than 45,000 open access digital images up to 4000 pixels each are available free of charge for download and use. NGA Images is designed to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration.” Read the NGA’s open access policy here.
  • New York Public Library Digital Collections. “What we mean by “Digital Collections” is reformatted and digital surrogates of materials held among the physical holdings of the New York Public Library, across all of its divisions. This includes digital images of visual materials, texts, streaming video and more. […] The New York Public Library is actively reviewing and labeling materials in our Digital Collections with statements that indicate how you may reuse the images, and what sort of permission, if any, you need to do so.” Find information about image use here.
  • Photogrammar is a web-based platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI). According to the Library of Congress: “Most photographs in this collection are considered to be in the public domain; however, labels on a few images indicate that they may be restricted. Privacy and publicity rights may also apply.
  • Images for Academic Publishing (IAP): Initiated by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2007, IAP provides free print-quality images for use in scholarly publications. IAP is available as an optional service to Artstor Digital Library contributors. Scholars at institutions that subscribe to Artstor can access these images through the Digital Library.
  • Shared Shelf Commons is a free, open-access library of images. Search and browse collections with tools to zoom, print, export, and share images.
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