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Open Educational Resources: Art & Design

Open educational and open source resources

Attention Art & Design Educators: Unsure where to start? Let the librarians help. 

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Art texts by category

Introduction to Art: Design, Context, and Meaning

Authored by four USG faculty members with advance degrees in the arts, this textbooks offers up-to-date original scholarship and over 400 high-quality images illustrating the history of art, its technical applications, and its many uses.

 Art Appreciation 101

Art Appreciation thoroughly investigates how quality is determined and created by artists in order to evaluate and appreciate art on a deeper level. Students are first introduced to the elements and principles of art and then different periods in art history, different techniques in art, and how to research and evaluate art.

 A Quick & Dirty Guide to Art, Music, & Culture

A textbook by Clayton Funk, instructor of Arts Administration, Education, and Policy at Ohio State University.

Art History: Curriculum Resources from the Met

Although focused on the needs of K-12 instructors, these resources from the Metropolitan Museum of Art provide useful overviews of ancient art from around the world.


A free art and art history resource

Fine Arts (MIT Open Courseware) 

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

Art History Courses (Saylor Academy) 

Saylor Academy contains full courses, including syllabi, readings, quizzes, and more.

History & the Arts (Open Learn) 

Open Learn is an initiative of The Open University, UK. It provides supplemental materials for educators, including articles, podcasts, videos, games, and much more. In addition, it offers more than 700 free online classes.

Arts (MERLOT) 

MERLOT is a curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community. The MERLOT Collection is made up of over 40,000 materials in 19 different material type categories.


SmARThistory is an online resource provided by Khan Academy, the product of collaboration by Art Historians worldwide. It is a high-quality, introductory Art History source freely available to the public, and currently offers countless photos and more than 500 videos on a variety of topics, along with the text itself.

Project Gutenberg - Art Bookshelf

This list highlights selected art books and books about artists, including practical methods and specialties, as well as general works on art and art history, plus visitor guides to art expos, galleries, and museums.

Understanding Media and Culture  by Jack Lule, Lehigh University 

Art History  by Boundless 

Art and Contemporary Critical Practice: Reinventing Institutional Critique  by (Eds.) Gerald Rauning & Gene Ray 

Creative Typography - Open course at Foothill-De Anza Community College District

Exploration and experimentation with letter forms and page layout for expressive communication. Fundamental typographic principles, font recognition, and analysis of both historical and post modern design theory.

Introduction to Visual Design - Open course at Carnegie Mellon University

In this course, students learn to analyze and produce effective printed documents, such as technical reports, proposals, and software documentation.

Graphic Design and Print Production Fundamentals

This textbook addresses different aspects of the design process, from creation to production. Each chapter includes exercises and suggested readings.

Introduction to Computer Graphics

Introduction to Computer Graphics is a free, online textbook covering the fundamentals of computer graphics and computer graphics programming.

The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web

In order to allay some of the myths surrounding typography on the web, I have structured this website to step through Bringhurst’s working principles, explaining how to accomplish each using techniques available in HTML and CSS.

Digital Foundations by Xtine Burrough and Michael Mandiberg

An open text for students in digital art and design courses, described as a "mash-up of the Bauhaus Basic Course and open source software such as Inkscape, Gimp, Firefox, and Processing."

Art Institute of Chicago Online Scholarly Catalogues and Digital Publications

A small, but quality collection of content on artists and exhibitions

Getty Publications Virtual Library

More than 300 books to read or download for free

Getty Research Portal

Art, auction catalogs, exhibition catalogs and more


Fifty years of Met publications on art history, available to read and download

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Collection

Exhibition catalogs from ground-breaking exhibits at the Guggenheim

The Met Curriculum Resources 

Introduce your students to the richness and diversity of works of art in selected collections of the Museum. These comprehensive and fully illustrated guides provide useful background information and ideas for engaging students.

Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA) and Répertoire international de la littérature de l'art (RILA)

Met Timeline of Art History

MoMA Glossary of Art Terms

Louvre: Elements of Art

Art Through Time: A Global View


Europeana is the EU digital platform for cultural heritage. More than 3,000 institutions across Europe have contributed to Europeana. These range from major international names like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the British Library and the Louvre to regional archives and local museums from every member of the European Union. Together, their assembled collections let users explore Europe's cultural and scientific heritage from prehistory to the modern day.

World Digital Library 

The WDL makes it possible to discover, study, and enjoy cultural treasures and significant historical documents on one site, in a variety of ways. Content on the WDL includes books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, journals, prints and photographs, sound recordings, and films.

Bodleian Library Scanning project & & &

Art Images for College Teaching (AICT)

A royalty-free image exchange resource for the educational community sponsored by the University of Michigan Library.

British Museum

Browse or search over 2 million objects from the museum collection. High-resolution images for educational use and academic publications may be downloaded for free.

Brooklyn Museum Online Collections

Contains over 90,000 digitized images from its collections. Users can browse, save, research, comment and tag. Wide-range of cultures, regions, and temporal periods represented.

Getty Images

Includes 35 million images free to embed for non-commercial purposes (you may not use the images to promote a service, a product or business).

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Timeline allows you to explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection by time period, geographical region, or thematic category. You may use materials presented by the Met for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Provides over 20,000 images of artwork for free.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Provides access to images of art in its collection that the Museum believes to be in the public domain and free of other known restrictions; these images are now available for scholarly use in any media. Works that are covered by the new policy are identified with the acronym OASC.

Museum of New Zealand

Includes over 30,000 images available for download and re-use in high resolution as a part of its Collections Online library.

National Gallery of Art

These digitized images of artwork have been determined to be in the public domain, are free to use and download, and can be used commercially or non-commercially.

OpenGLAM Open Collections

Collections from around the world that provide digital scans or photos that can be freely used without any restrictions.


High-resolution, public domain images are available for download for free and without restrictions. Smithsonian Institution Research Info Center - search over 8.8 million catalog records of museum objects, and library & archives materials. More than 1,096,000 of these records contain online images, video and sound files, electronic journals and other online resources.

Web Gallery of Art

Virtual museum and searchable database of European fine arts from 11th to 19th centuries.

Yale University Art Gallery

Anyone may use the Gallery’s open-access material without further application, authorization, or fees due to the Gallery or to Yale. When you click on an item, the entry will state whether the image is in the public domain.

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

87,000+ 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.

Rauschenberg Research Project (SFMOMA)

Provides more than 500 viewable and zoomable images of artworks created by Robert Rauschenberg.

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.

Archives Library Information Center

Includes many collections of photos from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

One of the world's largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts and is Yale's principal repository for literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books.

British Library

Over a million images included on Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose.


Free public gateway to more than 200,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts.

Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Library

The Folger Shakespeare Library has licensed all of its images in the Digital Image Library under a CC BY-SA license.

From Old Books

Provides over 3,500 free images from old rare antique and vintage books.

Internet Archive Book Images

Flickr has made 2.6 million public domain images from books available to the public.

Library of Congress Prints & Photos

Much of the collection is public domain. However, it is your duty to determine if the photo you wish to use has any restrictions.

National Library of Medicine: History of Medicine

Most but not all of the exhibitions are in the public domain. Clicking on "Metadata" near the bottom of the page will generate a popup window with information that includes rights usage for each page.

New York Public Library

The NYPL provides low-resolution images which are free to use for personal, educational, or research purposes, but not commercially.

Old Book Illustrations

provides images scanned from old books which have become part of the public domain.

Public Health Image Library of the CDC

Includes images of parasites and microscopic images of viruses including Ebola.

Welcome Collection

Find thousands of Creative Commons licensed images from historical library materials and museum objects to contemporary digital photographs.