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Students at the Hite Art Institute have access to a multitude of resources through the University. 

The Visual Resources Center, with more than 375,000 slides and 15,000 digital images, and the Print Room, a substantial collection of original prints and drawings accessible to graduate students for study and research.

The William F. Ekstrom Library on Belknap Campus contains over 1,130,085 volumes and subscribes to 5,108 printed and 6,690 electronic journals, as well as an array of diverse information services and collections. Students also have access to electronic databases from around the world.

Students also have access to the libraries of six colleges and seminaries in the Louisville area, as well as to the library of the Speed Art Museum. Other resources of the University include the Photographic Archives, which houses over 1.2 million photographs and provides an outstanding resource for research in the history of photography.

The Speed Art Museum, a private museum located on the University’s Belknap campus, houses collections representing most major periods of art from Classical to Contemporary. Students may become involved with the Museum through classes, research projects, internships and service as docents.

Students at the University’s Belknap and Medical campuses also have access to the city of Louisville’s cultural attractions such as the Louisville Visual Art Association, The Kentucky Arts and Crafts Foundation, Actors’ Theater, the Louisville Ballet, and Churchill Downs.

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University Archives

The University Archives and Records Center is one of the six libraries of the University Libraries. Its research rooms and offices are located in the Ekstrom Library building, with records in its care stored in Ekstrom and two other campus facilities. A research repository of national significance, the University Archives is known for its urban history collections, nineteenth and twentieth century records of important businesses, cultural organizations, social service agencies, and churches, and personal papers of political figures, scholars, women, and members of the Jewish and African-American communities. The Archives also administers the University's Oral History Center, preserving over 1,300 recollections of community leaders, members of ethnic communities, workers, business executives, and university students, faculty, and administrators.

As "The Memory of the University," the Archives preserves and makes available for research the official records of the University of Louisville, one of the oldest municipal universities in the United States, in accordance with state and federal law and university policy. The Archives administers the University's records management program, managing two records centers on the edge of the Belknap Campus. Finally, the University's compliance with federal and state records laws, such as those regarding access to university records and the privacy of student records, is overseen by the Director.

Where: Ekstrom Library, Fourth Floor East

Phone: (502)852-6674

Visit University Archives Website

Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm
other times by special appointment

Digital Collections

Digital collections is a database for searching digitized images, documents, and oral histories from UoL Libraries' archives and special collections and from other campus units.

Visit Digital Collections' Website

Photographic Archives

The Photographic Archives houses almost 2 million photographs and associated records and manuscripts. Its mission is to collect significant documentary photograph collections, to organize the collections and to make them available to both the researcher and the casual browser. This is accomplished through our reference service, searching our photocopy files (copies of photographs arranged by subject), exhibitions, publications, and other programs.

Hundreds of discrete collections include national documentary projects, local history photographs and an excellent museum collection of fine prints. Use of our reading room and exhibitions gallery is free and open to the public.


The Photographic Archives has a fully staffed reference desk offering service during all operating hours. The Photographic Archives Print Service is capable of producing prints and slides of items from our collections as needed by researchers.

The Photographic Archives gallery hosts changing exhibitions of prints from the Archives collections and from contemporary American photographers.

Where: Ekstrom Library

Visit Photographic Archives' Website

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The University Art Collection

The University of Louisville Art Collection was formally initiated in 1937, when the Carnegie Corporation of New York at the request of Dr. Richard Krautheimer, then head of the University of Louisville Department of Fine Arts, presented 104 original prints to the department. Among these were etchings by Millet, Whistler, and Rouault, and the complete set of Goya’s Caprichos.

Other gifts have followed since then, from private individuals as well as group entities. Intimately associated with the growth of the collection has been the name of Morris B. Belknap, Jr., who acquired original prints, drawings and some paintings for the collection and left a bequest, the income from which has been the chief source of funds for the purchase of original works of art. The collection now numbers more than 3000 pieces, counting prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture.

The collection has a twofold purpose: 1) to fulfill a pedagogical role in the University’s art curriculum; and 2) to enrich the cultural resources of the University and, consequently, of the community. The University’s substantial collection of original prints and drawings is accessible to Fine Arts graduate students for study and research. It has proved to be especially fruitful for independent projects, such as M.A. theses, one exploring the development of Edouard Manet’s etching style, another the significance of Sylvia Wald as a pioneer American practitioner of the art of serigraphy, and a third assessing the impact of Stoic philosophy on Goya’s Caprichos, as well as a Curatorial Study of the chronological position of our impressions of the Caprichos relative to the recorded editions of this work.

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The Visual Resources Center

The Visual Resources Center maintains the department’s slide and digital image collections. The center’s extensive holdings comprise 375,000 analog slides and 15,000 digital images, as well as a catalog database, providing support for the department’s areas of study–Studio Art, Art History, and Critical & Curatorial Studies.

The scope of the collection covers all art historical periods. Significant portions are dedicated to the architecture of Louisville as well as local collections, such as the Speed Museum and the university’s own art holdings. 

Services and facilities include light tables for working with slides, a study room with slide projectors, laptop computers and data projector for classroom use, and reference assistance.

Graduate students are encouraged to make use of the Center’s collection for course presentations, teaching, lectures given at conferences, and preparing theses and dissertations.

Circulation Policies

Slide checkout: Students in fine arts classes may use the collection for class presentations. Fine arts students taking courses outside the Department may also check out slides for class presentations. Students may pull slides prior to their class presentations, leave them on reserve in the VRC, and work with them as needed. Checkout period is for class time only. Slides must be returned directly after class. For classes that end after VRC hours, slides are to be returned to the circulation desk in the Art Library.

Slide and digital image production: The VRC makes slides or scans as needed for graduate students in fine arts classes. Students must check the collection for the images before ordering and provide books, journals or other printed materials for photography or scanning. Turnaround time for orders is normally two weeks.


Amy Fordham, M.A., M.L.I.S.
Curator of Visual Resources
014 Lutz Hall • Phone:  502.852.5917

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The Speed Art Museum

The Speed Art Museum, Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum, is located next to the university campus. The focus of its collection is western art, from antiquity to the present day. Holdings of paintings from the Netherlands, French and Italian works, and contemporary art are particularly strong.

In addition, the museum houses one of the largest collections of Roman funerary monuments in the United States. African and Native American works represent a growing segment of the museum’s collection, with decorative arts by Kentucky artists a highlight of the museum.

Students may become involved with the Speed Museum through classes, research projects, and service as docents. A Museum Methods course in the Critical & Curatorial Studies Program is offered in cooperation with the museum. In addition, a scholarship is given annually to a graduate student to conduct research on an aspect of the museum’s collection.

For more information, check out the Speed Museum's Website (

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