Below, you will find links to several digital image collections. Not finding what you need? Take a look at the Image Resources Research Guide.
NOTE: In order to do effective visual research for costume design, it is important to realize that search terms such as “eighteenth century French fashion” will produce few results in an image database such as ARTstor. It is more effective to do some background research to find particular artists who might represent clothing from the period you are interested in and to use their names as search terms.
In the list below, you will find links to online image collections created by museums and libraries. Keep in mind that museums often have strict guidelines for your use of images; be sure to read the Terms and Conditions of use provided on individual websites.
Not finding what you need? Search the web on your own, or take a look at the Image Resources Research Guide for links to other museum websites.
Research for set, costume, and lighting design requires that you look at visual images. Lots of them! You can find images by browsing through print sources - such as books and magazines - and by searching digital image collections.
You might also need to consider other visual materials in your research for theatre and dance, such as videos of past performances.
On this page, you will find information that will help you to effectively locate and use visual media. For even more resources, take a look at the Image Resources guide.
Like all resources, digital images should be used responsibly. Be sure to comply with copyright law, license agreements, and the Terms and Conditions of Use provided by the databases or websites that you acquire the images from, and always cite your images, just as you would any other source.
You can find useful images by browsing through books. To locate books in the library, use WorldCat.
Of course, some books contain more images than others. One good way to find books that contain a large number of pictures is to include the phrases "in art" or "pictorial works" in your search. For example, if you are looking for books with images of southern plantations, you might try a search combining the term "plantation" with the term "pictorial works." Make sure to take a look at the subject terms that are used to describe relevant results. You can use these terms to build further searches.
The library collection also includes reference sources on topics such as the history of costume and dress, which contain numerous images. Search WorldCat to find these items, or ask a librarian for help!
Popular magazines are a great place to look for images. If the play you are working on takes place in the past, you might browse issues of LIFE or TIME magazines from the period in order to get a feel for the way people dressed, furnishings that were popular, etc. Even if your play takes place in the contemporary world, you can get design ideas from magazines.
To determine whether we have a particular magazine in the library collection (either in print or online), search for the title of the journal/magazine in Journals A-Z.