Skip to Main Content
The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the M├ętis Nation. More

Environmental Design: Images

Subject Guide

Digital Databases

 ArtStor ARTstor image database
Art & Architecture ePortal - over 40,000 images from publications on art and architecture

Great Buildngs Collection Great Buildings Collection database

Winnipeg Building Index

Explore Architecture on by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) has an excellent building type section.


US Modernist - This is a fantastic site for looking at Modernist architecture and includes videos with architects.


Brown University - The list is annotated and includes notes when images are freely available

University of Colorado, Boulder (click on "external image sources")

UCLA - You might also find some use in the Creative Commons, Open Content, & Public Domain images tab of the Image Resources research guide 

Yale Digital Commons - has 250,000 images "without license" 

Online Archives

Archivegrid * A very useful guide to locating archives around the world. Information can be searched by topic or specific archive. New resources are continually added.

Archives of American Art The Archives has collected roughly 16 million letters, photographs, diaries, oral history interviews, sketches, scrapbooks, business records, and other documents that support the study of the history of the visual arts in America. 

The Beazley Archive Provides dictionary and bibliographies related to collections of ancient Greek and Roman cultural objects. Housed in the Classical Art Research Center and Archive at the University of Oxford.

Library of Congress Digital Collections
Archival finding aids are detailed guides to
primary source material which provide fuller information than that normally contained within cataloging records. This page provides links to online archival finding aids at the Library of Congress.

Libraries and Archives of Canada

National Register of Archives 
The NRA contains information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records that relate to British history.

NYPL Digital Collections Provides free and open access to over 640,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs, and more.

Online Archive of California  The OAC brings together historical materials from a variety of California institutions, including museums, historical societies, and archives.
SCIPIO: Art and Rare Books Sales/Auction Catalogs for sales from the late sixteenth century to scheduled auctions not yet held. Records include the dates and places of sales, the auction houses, sellers, institutional holdings, and titles of works.

Smithsonian Institution Research Information System  Search 1.89 million records, with links to 178,800 images, video and sound files from dozens of Smithsonian libraries, archives, museums, and specialized research units.

University of Manitoba Archives - Digital Archives

Women Artists Archives National Directory An innovative web directory to U.S. archival collections of primary source materials by and about women visual artists active in the U.S. since 1945.

General Resources

Artsy (public domain images):

CAA (College Art Association) is also keeping a list at:

Flickr Commons: almost everything is downloadable.

Wikimedia Commons tries to aggregate a number of institutions' free content.


Most of these are free-access:

Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson and Burnham Libraries - a great resource for digital images digital-

The British Museum - Free Non-Commercial Use Images
Information regarding copyright:

Currier Museum of Artquick resource guide for fair use images here 

Getty Open Content ProgramHigh resolution images of works from the Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute that are in the public domain and may be used freely. Can also search in Getty Search Gateway , but check off box for "Open Content.".

LACMAunrestricted images collection

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)

NGA Images (National Gallery of Art in Washington DC) 

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

The Walters Art  Museum

Online Gallery Collections

The Google Art Project: Like Street View for Museums  gathers together seminal works from Germany, Russia, New York, and 14 other locations online. The interactive street-view-style interface makes even hairline cracks visible. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art are among the participating galleries.

Museums and Galleries (education links, lesson plans and games!)

Web List of Contemporary Art Museums Worldwide 

One thing I always have hesitations about, in these lists we call "free" or "open" image sources, is that when I read the fine print on the museum sites there are often qualifications.  Even Creative Commons licenses depend on the uploader in fact having copyright ownership of what s/he is uploading.  There are Picasso paintings on Flickr with the photographer (not Picasso) giving an open access license.

 List of Contemporary Art Museums Worldwide 

Citing Images

Colgate University: Citing Images Chicago Style

New Jersey Institute of Technology: Citing Images in Architecture

University of Manitoba: Citing Images Guide

UCI Libraries Citing Images Guide: APA and MLA

Open Access Image Resources

Art & Architecture - Library of Congress Digital Collections
  • Hosted by the Library of Congress, this digital library contains material from more than 100 historical collections related to the history and culture of the United States. Browse the Art & Architecture Collections for images. 
Art Images for College Teaching (AICT)
  • AICT is a collection of free-use image resources for ancient, medieval, renaissance, baroque, 18 to 20th Century, and non-western art and Architecture. It is hosted by the University of Minnesota Department of Art History.
Canadian Centre for Architecture 
  • Consists of 100,000 prints and drawings, 65,000 photographs, and 200 archives.
Cities and Buildings Database: University of Washington Digitial Collections
  • "The Cities and Buildings Database is a collection of digitized images of buildings and cities drawn from across time and throughout the world, available to students, researchers and educators on the web. It contains images ranging from New York to Central Asia, from African villages, to the Parc de la Villette, and conceptual sketches and models of Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project. They are freely available to anyone with access to the Web for use in the classroom, student study, or for individual research purposes."

Digital Bodleian Library
  • Select digitized content from the Bodleian Library, including architectural drawings, plans and rare materials. 
Getty Research Portal 
  •  "This multilingual and multicultural union catalog affords art historians and other researchers the ability to search and download complete digital copies of publications devoted to art, architecture, material culture, and related fields."
Gottscho-Schleisner Collection - Library of Congress Digital Collections
  • " Over 29,000 images primarily of architectural subjects, including interiors and exteriors of homes, stores, offices, factories, historic buildings, and other structures. Subjects are concentrated chiefly in the northeastern United States, especially the New York City area, and Florida. Included are the homes of notable Americans, such as Raymond Loewy, and of several U.S. presidents, as well as color images of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. Many of the photographs were commissioned by architects, designers, owners and architectural publications, and document important achievements in American 20th-century architecture and interior design."
MOMA - Exhibition History
  • Exhibition images from 1929-present, including exhibits on architecture and architects. 
Norbert Schoenauer Digital Case Studies Collection
  • Schoenauer was a Canadian architect, educator, and planner. Includes images, drawings, plans etc. 
Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)
  • PCAD includes a range of information on the buildings and architects of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. 
Smithsonian Digital Collection and Smithsonian Open Access
  • "The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, with 21 museums and the National Zoo—shaping the future by preserving heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world." Diverse architectural image-based content is available. 
Society of Architectural Historians (SAHARA) - A digital Archive of Architectural Images 
  • "SAHARA is a digital image archive developed by the Society of Architectural Historians in collaboration with Artstor. SAHARA contains over 155,000 images of architecture and landscapes contributed by SAH members—architects, scholars, photographers, graduate students, preservationists, and others who share an interest in the built environment."
  • A database dedicated to the images of the collection of the British Architectural Library and the Royal Institute of British Architects, the world's most extensive visual archive devoted to architecture. RIBApix covers world architecture of all periods together with related subjects such as interior design, landscape, topography, planning, construction, and decorative arts. 
The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections - Library of Congress Digital Collections
The New York Public Library Digital Collections 
  • "This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more," including various content related to architecture. You can limit items/images to public domain only.
The University of British Columbia Open Collections 
  • Various architecture-related content, limit search results to images. 
University of Southern California (USC) Digitial Library 
  • "Spanning a wide range of visual media, the USC Digital Library offers digital images of drawings, illuminated manuscripts, maps, photographs, posters, prints, rare illustrated books, as well as audio and video recordings." Browse the Basel Mission Picture Archive and Architecture and Urban Planning collections, or search "Architecture" for a broad and diverse collection of image materials. 
Vancouver Public Library (VPL) Historical Photograph Collections
  • VPL's Special Collections has a significant collection of photos relating to British Columbia and Yukon, including buildings.
Visual Collections: images of art, history and culture: Architecture
  • The Visual Collections site from Cartography Associates contains dozens of digital image collections from Museums, Universities and private collections throughout the world.
World Digital Library - Library of Congress Digital Collections 
  • This collection contains cultural heritage materials hosted by the Library of Congress features numerous architectural drawings and photographs from collections around the world.