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Public Domain Images

Artwork & Museums | Clip Art | Creative Commons | General | Government & History | Libraries & Books

 

Public domain images may be reproduced, altered and distributed without permission. This is because either because their copyright expired (and was not renewed), or because the author specifically released his/her images to the public domain. However, when using the sites below, it is important to check each image to make sure it is within the public domain and has no restrictions on its use. Some images may be used for educational purposes, but not commercially. Additionally, materials that you use or download must cite the author/creator and the original source. For additional information about citing images in APA Style, click here.

 

Artwork & Museums

 

Art Images for College Teaching (AICT) - dedicated to the principle of free exchange of image resources for and among members of the educational community.

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.

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.

Rijksmuseum - 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.

 

Clip Art

 

Clip Art Etc. - created by the University of South Florida, this site has a free classroom license; students and educators may use the clip art for non-commercial classroom projects.

Clker.com - provides hundreds of thousands of free clip art & vector images that you can download or embed anywhere at no cost.

i2Clipart - online sharing network that allows users to create, share, and download royalty-free public domain vector clipart images.

Open Clip Art - site allows you to search clip art images and collections, which may be downloaded and edited. If you choose to edit the image, you can do so on the site - add text, change colors, add shapes and stickers, re-size, enhance, etc. The altered image can then be downloaded onto your computer.

PDClipart.org – huge collection of public domain clip art. The collection is free and no registration is required.

Publicdomainvectors.org - offers copyright-free vector images in popular .eps, .svg, .ai and .cdr formats. To the extent possible under law, uploaders on this site have waived all copyright to their vector images. You are free to edit, distribute and use the images for unlimited commercial purposes without asking permission.

Vecteezy - explore thousands of graphics created by vector artists from all over the globe. All the graphics are free to download and, depending on the license, free to use in your projects.

Vector4Free.com – site dedicated to free vector graphics. All Adobe Illustrator AI, EPS, PDF, SVG, Corel Draw CDR files free to download.

Vector Open Stock - provides high quality free vectors graphics for creatives, designers, webmasters, bloggers, etc. Most of the vectors in our site are free, under Creative Commons license or Open Stock License (their own license).

WP Clipart - Large collection of clip art images and some photos. You can narrow down by category or search for a specific image.

 

Creative Commons

 

A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. For more information about the Creative Commons licenses, click here.

Behold - gives you the option to search images which are free to use, modify, and/or use commercially.

Bing - not all images available via Bing's image search are available under a Creative Commons license. However, once you run a search using Bing Images, you can limit your results to appropriately licensed images by clicking on "License" in the menu below the search box. You can also limit by Public Domain images.

Compfight - allows you to search images with Creative Commons licenses and to download different sizes of the image onto your computer.

Creative Commons - allows you to search open access images with different types of licensing options. Choose the "Advanced Search" option on Flickr to search for images with all types of CC licenses.

Creative Commons Search – search engine allows you to search for photos with Creative Commons licensing on various sites.

Flickr Storm - you may use Flickr Storm to search for images under different Creative Commons licenses by choosing the Advanced Search option. Under Advanced Search, you must choose a license.

Foter - website searches through 190 million Creative Commons-licensed images and allows users to retrieve the code necessary to embed the images on the web with the proper attribution.

Google Images - not all images on Google Images are Creative Commons licensed. However, it is possible to limit your search results to only images available under a Creative Commons license. To do so, run your search in the standard Google Image search bar and then on the results page, click on search tools just below the search box. A further drop down menu will then appear with usage rights as one of the options. From there, users can limit results to the proper rights. Note, they do not use the exact language of Creative Commons licenses.

IM Free - searchable collection of Creative Commons-licensed images. Click on the Creative Commons icon on the image's page to know the exact license being used. All images are available for commercial use.

Let's CC - available in both English and Korean, this is another option for finding Creative Commons-licensed content.

Multicolr Search Lab - allows you to search for Creative Commons-licensed images by color. Users can enter up to five colors simultaneously and will return dozens of images that include all of the selected colors.

PhotoPin - image search engine returns both Creative Commons and non-Creative Commons images. When you download any image, you can also download the necessary HTML to appropriately attribute the image to its creator.

Pixabay - all images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty-free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required.

The Stocks - website collects sites that offer access to high-resolution images available for use under Creative Commons licenses. Most of the sites offer the images under CC0 licenses and all of the sites clearly state how their images are licensed.

UnSplash - free, high-resolution images published under the Creative Commons Zero license.

Wikimedia Commons - Wikimedia allows you to search photos under Creative Commons licenses, GFDL, and public domain images.

Wylio - use Wylio to find, resize, and download CC images with credit attached. You may only download 5 pictures per month with a free account.

 

General

 

Alegri Photos - search photos by keyword or by category. Photos may be listed as public domain or under a Creative Commons license.

Ars Publik - browse images under categories such as medical, advertisements, people, sports, space, etc.

EveryStockPhoto - indexes and millions of freely licensed photos and presents them in an integrated search. Choose Advanced, then from the License dropdown menu change "All" to "Public Domain."

Fotolia – provides access to over 42 million images, vectors, illustrations and video clips.

Free Images – images are free as long as you adhere to the Image license Agreement. In some cases you may need to notify the artists about using the images and sometimes you need to give credit to them. You can see these restrictions under the image previews, right next to the Download button.

MorgueFile - offers thousands of free images almost all that have no restrictions or agreements attached. Also, the site requires no login to download the high quality files.

Pics4Learning - photos on this site are available for students and educators to use in an educational setting. Images are under copyright but the original photographers have given their permission for their photos to be used for educational purposes.

Photos Public Domain – provides royalty free stock photographs, images, pictures & clipart for any use, including commercial.

Public Domain Images - you can use all public domain images from this site for whatever you want, use it freely for personal and commercial use. All pictures are free to download, edit, share, copy and distribute, even sell.

Public-Domain-Photos.com - all photos on this web site are public domain. You may use these images for any purpose, including commercial. But if some photo contains logos and products you need to be careful. Using someone else's trademark commercially can get you sued.

The Public Domain Project – provides thousands of media files (audio, video, images, and 3-D models) you are free to use in projects.

The Public Domain Review – includes unusual and interesting images from out-of-copyright sources (magazines, illuminated manuscripts, books, etc.). The content is varied and ranges from Bestiaries to anatomy to futuristic drawings. You may search by category or time period.

Reuseable Art – includes images (mostly prints and drawings) from old magazines, books, and other print media, which are all public domain in the United States. Search by category or use the advanced search option.

StockVault - stock photo sharing website where photographers, designers and students can share their photographs, graphics and image files with each other for free.

Wikipedia: Public Domain Image Resources - lists a number of sources of public domain images on the Web.

 

Government & History

 

American Memory - provides open access to over 5 million items through the Library of Congress and other institutions. Each collection may have different restrictions on copyright.

Perry-Castañeda Library Portrait Gallery – the portraits in this collection are in the public domain. You do not need to ask for permission to use these images.

TotallyFreeImages.com - more than 494,000 high-resolution, professional-grade, royalty-free images gathered from government sources.

Uncle Sam's Photos - a detailed directory of the US government's public domain image galleries.

U.S. Department of Defense Photo Gallery – searchable library of free downloadable military and defense photos. U.S. Federal Government Public Domain Images – directory of government websites containing public domain images. Restrictions may apply to the images. Review the policies of the individual sites for this information.

U.S. Government Photos and Images - you can easily find images from government websites with this search. Be sure to check the copyright information for each image before using it.

WorldImages - provides access to approximately 100,000 images, is global in coverage, and includes all areas of visual imagery. You are free to use these images for non-profit educational purposes, but we ask that you give credit to the copyright holders who retain rights to the images. These works are licensed under a Creative Commons license.

 

Libraries & Books

 

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.

Calisphere - 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.

Europeana - online collection of content from European libraries, archives, museums and other institutions. Once you run a search in their search bar, you can limit your results to items that are freely usable or available under a Creative Commons license using the facets under Copyright in the left menu.

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. The

Public Health Image Library of the CDC - includes images of parasites and microscopic images of viruses including Ebola.