Visual Resources Collection

The Visual Resources Collection provides digital media, technology and classroom support to the Department of Art History at Rice University. The VRC’s main digital image collection is accessible through Rice University’s hosted collections via ArtStor.

The Rice Art History Collection contains over 45,000 high-quality digital images of art, architecture and visual culture from prehistoric to modern times. The images are accompanied by detailed metadata records and can be searched by keyword or browsed by a number of categories. The VRC is continually adding images to the collection, mostly selected by the Art History faculty for use in current and upcoming courses.

Hours, Location and Staff

The VRC, located in Herring Hall, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, throughout the year with the exception of University holidays. Please contact us if you have any questions:

Kelley Vernon, MA
Curator, Visual Resources
252 Herring Hall


The Visual Resources Collection adds to the Rice Art History Collection at an approximate rate of 500 digital images and metadata each month. These additions generally fall under the following categories:

  • Images added for courses at specific faculty request;
  • Images added for courses based on general faculty teaching needs;
  • Images added to replace or supplement inferior quality images already in the collection,
  • Images added from the Department's legacy slide collection that have never been digitized.

The VRC also processes digital images for scholarly and publishing use by the Department of Art History faculty. These research images are not always added to the digital collection. While the Visual Resources Collection makes an effort to be encyclopedic across cultures and time periods, it's primary mission is to serve the teaching and research needs of the Art History faculty and the collection reflects this.

Art History Slide Archive

In addition to the digital collection, the VRC has an archive of over 300,000 35mm slides relating to art, architecture and visual culture from prehistoric to modern times. The VRC stopped creating or purchasing new slides in 2005 but continues to digitize and import images and metadata from the slide archive into Owl-Space IMM as needed by Art History faculty. The archive continues to be an actively-used resource for course development because it contains 6 times as many images as the VRC’s current digital collection (a large percentage of the slide images would otherwise have to be repurchased from vendors as needed) and represents over 40 years of scholarly development.