History of the VRC

The slide collection at Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, was begun ca. 1968 by the Art Department. At that time, art history courses were taught by Cornell faculty, who brought their own slides with them to Ithaca College.

From 1972 through 1989, the slide collection was housed first in Muller and then Friends Hall.  In the fall of 1989, the facility was moved to the first floor of Gannett Center (library), still its present location. In 1991 a climate control system was installed to ensure even temperature and humidity controls in the slide library.

The slide library grew considerably since its modest inception. In 1979, the collection numbered approximately 50,000 slides. The size of the slide collection grew to approximately 160,000 slides. Today, a full-time curator, and student assistants staff the Visual Resources Collection. The emphasis of the holdings is on Western art, particularly Renaissance and modern painting, and architecture. Slides are classified first according to medium, the period, and country, then alphabetically under the name of the artist or architect. Classification with each artist varies, usually by chronology or subject matter.

As of Spring 2007, 35mm analog slides were no longer added to the collection due to the shift from analog to digital imaging in the teaching of art and art history. We are in the midst of an extensive de-accessioning process, culling poor quality slides from the collection. In the summer of 2010, the first floor of Gannett Center, where the collection is housed, will be renovated - resulting in a smaller footprint for the VRC. We will eventually have only a small reference collection of 35 mm slides after the renovation.

Our digital image database (DAVID) was first developed in 2002 using Extensis Portfolio. As of 2019, we have over 35,000 high quality digital images which art history faculty use to support their teaching. These images are now available to faculty, staff and students through ARTstor.