Image Gallery FAQ

The thousands of images on this site represent only a small portion of the more than 1.5 million illustrations and photos from the Smithsonian Libraries collections. The images available here represent a broad cross-section of the Libraries' holdings. Additional images and collections are added regularly.

The Smithsonian Libraries’ provides reproductions from preexisting digital files or new digital photography of material from its collections to students, academics and creative professionals in publishing, design, broadcast and other media.

How can I search for images?
You can search for images using the main website search box in the upper right hand corner of this page. On the search results page you can limit your results to just images by checking the box next to "images" under "Type"

Can I download images directly from your site?
Yes! You may download and use images from this website, in accordance with the Smithsonian Terms of Use. In most cases, if the images available on our website are sufficient for your use, you are welcome to use them free of charge. This includes images not just in the Image Gallery but those available in digitized books in our Digital Library.  Email SILImages@si.edu if you have questions.

How do I access high-resolution copies of images I've found on your website or in your collection?
Check to see if the book title has been scanned in its entirety and is available in our Digital Library. If so, you may be able to download suitable images via the Internet Archive. See the Digital Library FAQs for more information.

To order images not available in the Digital Library or for high-resolution .tif files of images in our collection, please complete our online request form.

Please note: most, but not all, images here in the Image Gallery are available in high resolution. In some cases, new photography/scanning may be required.

If you have questions, email SILImages@si.edu. Once your request is received, Smithsonian Libraries staff will review it. If approved, you will receive an automated email containing an invoice, payment link and additional information.

How much does it cost to reproduce an image?

Use Reproduction Fee,
Existing Image
Reproduction Fee, New Photography

Smithsonian staff and fellows, Smithsonian projects

Valid credentials and details of project must be provided.

No Charge. No Charge.
Scholarly, academic, personal, research, and classroom use (including academic and nonprofit publications and exhibitions) $25.00 per image $50.00 per image
Commercial uses (including commercial publishers, textbooks, design firms, etc.) $75.00 per image $100.00 per image

Smithsonian Libraries is not charging a copyright or licensing fee but a reproduction fee that covers the cost of providing the image from its collections.

Do you waive fees for non-profits, government agencies and scholarly presses?
Fees are uniformly applied but lower for non-commercial groups or users (see “Scholarly, academic, personal, research”, etc. use above).

After I submit a request, how do I pay for my images?
Via credit card or check. Once your request is approved, you will receive an automated email containing an invoice and a payment link. You may pay by credit card through this link or send a check (made in U.S. dollars). We do not accept payment via bank transfer.

What digital formats are available?
Our standard high-resolution specifications for scanning are as follows:
•    Scans are made at 300dpi or 400dpi depending on origin of the material.
•    Available 35mm slides and b/w negatives are scanned at 2400 dpi at 100%.
•    A standard color bar is available in some images, with the exception of 35mm slides.

How long is the turnaround time?
Turnaround time is generally 5 business days after payment is received for images already available in a suitable digital format. For new scanning, please allow 2-3 weeks for turnaround time.

What are the methods of delivery for your images?
Digital files are typically delivered via Dropbox.  

Will Smithsonian Libraries reproduce images still in copyright?
Yes, but only after you’ve obtained and forwarded to the Libraries written permission from the rights holder or you’ve documented in writing your “best efforts” to track down the rights holder.

If I pay a fee to a third party copyright holder, does the Libraries’ reproduction fee still apply?
Yes, it does. Smithsonian Libraries is not charging a copyright or licensing fee but a reproduction fee that covers the cost of providing the image from its collections.

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