The VRL was established in the early 1970s to support the Art Department's Art History, Architecture, Renaissance, and Medieval courses. Over time the collection has grown to include over 80,000 slides covering Ancient Art, Portable Arts, Non-Western Art, Pre-Modern Art, Modern Art, Architecture, the Classics, and an extensive Islamic section.
In the 1980s budget cuts to the Art History Department caused the VRL to lose its professional curator. The facility was therefore managed by MFA students until the late 1990s when the Department was able to reestablish a curator position.
Since the year 2000, the VRL has considered a number of technologies to aid in gaining intellectual and physical control over its collection. Because faculty throughout the University are increasingly using digital images for teaching, the main focus of the VRL is now on the development of a digital image database and delivery system which will provide a means to systematically store, catalog, and retrieve digital images. Like its slide collection, this resource will be made available to the entire University community.
The VRL (FA 121) is located in the Fine Arts Building on the Academic Podium. It is a one-room facility offering a reading/studying area, equipment to view slides, reference books and periodicals to browse, and of course the slide collection itself. The VRL also provides workstations for art history faculty members located at the back of the room. The Visual Resources Curator's office is also located in the facility.
Because of the variety of activities that take place in the VRL--office work and meetings, class discussion groups, telephone conferences, reference service, copystand photography, et cetera, the VRL is not an entirely silent library. However, special accommodations can be made for instructors who need a facility to proctor an exam or the like.
To prevent damage to the materials in the VRL, no food, drink, or tobacco products are allowed. Covered containers of water are permitted.
Visual Resource Library
College of Arts and Sciences
Fine Arts 121
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222