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This is a general guide to resources for art history research.

Free Digital Resources for Art and Art History

lightbulb icon Be sure to check out even more open educational resources for art and art history at the Affordable Learning $olutions guide.



Course Hero - Art History: a free online open textbook covering prehistoric to 20th-century art across the world.

Open Textbook Library: a collection of free electronic textbooks licensed under one of six Creative Commons licenses. Some books include faculty peer reviews. 

OER Commons: a freely online library of open educational resources and other freely available instructional materials. 

MERLOT: a program of the California State University System that includes a curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services for use by higher education instructional faculty and staff. 


Google Arts & Culture: a collection of digital images and videos of artworks and cultural artifacts from museums and other cultural organizations throughout the world.

HathiTrust: a collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items.

Internet Archive: an open digital library that includes collections of websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and millions of books. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: a digital publication that includes more than 1,000 essays, 8,000 works of art, 300 chronologies, and 3,700 keywords that organizes the Met’s collection chronologically, geographically, and thematically

Metropolitan Museum of Art publications: all known publications from 1869 to 1993 to which The Met owns the full copyright including exhibition catalogs, collection catalogs, and guides.

Perseus Digital Library: a digital library with collections related to the history, literature and culture of the Greco-Roman world

Smart History: a free resource for the study of art history created by art historians Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.  Includes videos and essays on art from the Paleolithic era to the 21st century that include the art of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.

Smithsonian Library – Digital Library: Art and Design: Smithsonian Libraries digital collections of images, books, exhibits, and archives.

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