VRC COVID-19 Update

Dear Art History,

Echoing the sentiments of Alyssa’s earlier email, we sincerely hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this exceptionally stressful time. 

As of today, the Visual Resources Center will be closed until April 15. VRC Digitization Lab services, such as image digitization requests and equipment reservations, are temporarily suspended. While VRC staff are currently prioritizing the pedagogical and technological support of remote teaching in Art History, we remain absolutely committed to fulfilling our core services, many of which can further support instructors and their students with remote teaching. To that end, the VRC is currently working on the following:

  • Coordinating with College IT, ITS, and ATS on shifting to remote teaching and serving on the Working Group on Online Instruction in Arts & Humanities
  • Maintaining the in-house guide to teaching remotely, “VRC Notes on Shifting to Remote Teaching in Art History
  • Providing one-on-one and small group Zoom training for the Art History community
  • Providing pedagogical consultations to instructors for adapting their syllabus, course learning goals, and assignments to a remote environment. We are extremely grateful to Cosette Bruhns, PhD Candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures, who generously turned her VRC digital collections position into a digital pedagogy position and is sharing her wealth of digital teaching expertise with this community

We continue to offer our users the following existing resources and services in a remote capacity, but without interruption:

  • Fulfilling Image Purchase Requests from vendors and sourcing relevant images from digital collections (we can remotely add these new images to Luna)
  • Assisting with Canvas maintenance: VRC staff are automatically added to all ARTH Canvas courses, so we can quickly and effectively integrate images into Canvas and help instructors manage the tools and settings they’ll need to use within the remote context
  • Providing reference and instruction services to students in your courses in a remote capacity. Consider asking us to give remote instruction on using LUNA and conducting image-based research to your students in support of their Spring quarter assignments. 
  • Supporting students, especially MAPH and BA students completing their theses, by procuring images and conducting individual reference support over email or via Zoom
  • Supporting forthcoming publication projects

Please write to or call (773)702-0261 to reach VRC staff with questions or to request VRC services. 

Please write to to contact VRC and Art History Departmental staff regarding remote teaching or to request technology “dress rehearsals” or remote pedagogy consultations.

The VRC’s social media accounts will stay active during this time, so please follow us on Instagram @UChicagoVRC. We’ll be sharing updates about remote teaching as well as sharing insight into our digital collections if you need a moment of levity!

We are grateful to work with staff, faculty, and students who are strong, generous, and creative. Please be in touch if there is anything we can do to help support your remote teaching, technologically, pedagogically, or logistically.

I will be in touch with more information about official Zoom training soon, likely tomorrow.



Archivision Update: Module Eleven Now Available in Luna!

The Visual Resources Center is pleased to announce that more than 6,300 new images are now available to the Archivision collection in the LUNA with the addition of Module Eleven! The newest update represents many new sites, including:

China: contemporary architecture including Dalian City Sport Center, Dalian International Conference Center, and Dalian Shell Museum

  • India: Taj Mahal, Devi Jagadambi Temple complex, and Secretariat in New Delhi
  • Colorado: Clyfford Still Museum and US Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
  • Europe: Interior documentation of the Sagrada Familia, Villa Farnesina, and Saint Peter’s

The VRC subscribes to Archivision, which now contains more than 84,000 images of architecture, urban design, and public art from all over the world and all style periods. The Archivision collection in LUNA is available to all on-campus users or those with a CNetID and password. Images from Archivision can be incorporated into Media Groups and used in conjunction with images from the Art History Department Image Collection or any other content available in LUNA.

All images are available for educational use only. For publication rights or more information, please email

Images on the Web Luna Modern - Contemporary News

Public Art at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago has recently released a new web resource called Public Art on Campus which seeks to catalog, document, and provide contextual and critical information about the works of art on campus. There is an accompanying video which provides an overview of the works on campus. The website allows users to browse works by location, artist, and title and for selected works users can read an artist bibliography and an essay about the work. These selected works also include archival images and documents relevant to the work.

The VRC supports this project by maintaining the UChicago Public Art Collection and Archive in collaboration with the Smart Museum of Art, UChicago Arts, and Christine Mehring of the Department of Art History. This dedicated, password-protected collection is accessible to all on-campus users and off-campus users who have a CNetID and password. If you’d like to explore more, the Luna collection contains archival photographs, audio, video, conservation information, and other ephemeral documentation pertaining to the public works on campus.

Modern - Contemporary VRC

Visit “Lost Murals of Chicago” in the Vamonde App

Vamonde is a recently launched urban story telling app that uses curated content and GPS to connect users to significant places.

Rebecca Zorach, a professor of art history at Northwestern University created a module in Vamonde called “Lost Murals of Chicago” in which she takes app users to 8 murals in Chicago and provides information about the artists, how the murals were created, and other signifiant facts about the mural site. Vamonde provides a map with GPS walking directions from a user’s location to the mural site.

Check out the Vamonde app to go on your own walking tour of “Lost Murals of Chicago” or other tours on the app. Right now the app only features content from Chicago, and other tours such as “The Inside Track: Art on CTA” and “Humboldt Park: Jens Jensen’s Experimental Grounds” might be of interest. Vamonde is currently only available at the iTunes App Store and requires users to sign up for a free account.

For more images and information about the community mural movement in Chicago, visit the Public Art Workshop Mural Archive hosted by the VRC in Luna.

Luna Scheduled Maintenance

LUNA will be unavailable Saturday 3/26 from 3 to 5pm

Luna will be down on Saturday afternoon from 3–5pm while the Library’s Digital Library Development Center upgrades its servers. We will keep you informed if Luna will be down for longer than expected.

Images on the Web Luna VRC

Access to Luna Commons Collections

Luna is currently making some changes to its database, including the Luna Commons Collections. As of today, we no longer have access to the following collections through the University of Chicago’s Luna login. If you would like to access these collections, you’ll need to visit the individual collections websites listed below. Access to these collections will eventually be restored to the University of Chicago’s Luna login.

Users still have access to 13 existing Commons Collections—including the popular David Rumsey Historical Map Collection—through our instance of Luna. The VRC will keep you updated on access to Luna commons collections and other improvements coming to the database, including their planned interface redesign.

If you have any questions about changes in Luna or access to your content, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at

East Asian Images on the Web

The Mary Griggs Burke Collection Online

Recently, Chelsea Foxwell, Assistant Professor of Art History and the College, brought a new on-line resource for Japanese art to our attention.

The Mary Griggs Burke Collection, a major new database for Japanese art, along with some Chinese and Korean art, has recently launched. During her lifetime, Mary Griggs Burke had one of the best collections of Japanese art outside of Japan, and her collection has since been donated to several museums.

This website presents the highlights of her collection, with more than 1,000 high-quality photographs and cataloging data displayed online. You can browse the website by collecting area, artist, format, and period or do keyword searches of the collection. Users are able to zoom and pan enlarged images, and you can save a medium quality image by right clicking in the view and selecting “Save Image As.”

This site, along with many others that provide images of art and architecture, can be found on the VRC’s Other Art Resources Online page.


Flickr Content in LUNA

Did you know it’s possible to search through Flickr content and add it to your Luna Media Groups and include it in the PowerPoint files you export?

After logging in to Luna, click the Explore menu and then choose External content. You can search by a keyword or a Flickr username. This is especially useful for photographs of architectural sites or popular museum installations.

Hover over the upper right corner of an image to add it to your media group. In order to see data about the image, you’ll have to click the Go To Source link. The quality of data varies widely in Flickr because it depends on what the photographer included.

Images on the Web Innovative Technology

Vintage Ads from the New York Times and Duke

The New York Times has recently released a collection of ads from the 1960s and they’re crowdsourcing the data for the images. Eventually, other decades will be released. The project is called Madison and if you’re interested in participating, check out the link here to start tagging! You’ll be asked to find or identify ads on the page, tag ads, or transcribe ads.

Another great digital collection of vintage ads is Duke University’s Ad*Access, which contains more than 7,000 ads from the US and Canada between 1911 and 1955. Their digital collection is fully cataloged, so you won’t have to do any of the legwork yourself! You can browse across many different categories including product, company, publication, date, subject, headline, and audience.


The Classicizing Chicago Project

The Classicizing Chicago Project from Northwestern University brings together several different digital collections and scholarly essays about Classical antiquity and its pervasiveness throughout the city of Chicago. The site currently contains two open-access, searchable collections. The Bosher Collection is a searchable digital database of performances of Greek and Roman drama on Chicago stages dating back to 1840. The Atlas is a digital archive that includes illustrated essays with audio, video, and walking tours currently in development. Both collections add to the project’s focus on the ways in which “the Greek and Roman past permeate Chicago and its environs in both familiar and surprising ways.”