Yale University holds a wide array of images from the Middle East across its encyclopedic collections. The goal of the Visual Resources of the Middle East (VRME) project is to house highlights from different collections onto one platform. These highlights are an introduction into the vast holdings at Yale, with the aim of opening the holdings to a diverse audience at and beyond Yale. The entire VRME collection can now be found in Artstor’s public collections and ensure public accessibility to Yale’s extensive holdings.
The archival holdings we are focusing on are housed in the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Sterling Memorial Library, the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and Lewis Walpole collection. The Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) has manuscript paintings from early modern Iran and India, and strong holdings in textiles, ceramics, photography and contemporary art. At the Yale Center for British Art and the Lewis Walpole Library 18th- and 19th- century highlights include paintings and objects that document the history of the Middle East, especially under colonial rule. Sterling Memorial Library offers visual resources from books and periodicals published in Persian, Arabic, and Turkish, while the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library houses numerous scientific manuscripts. Beinecke Library’s renowned rare book and manuscript collections encompass resources from Safavid Shahnama manuscripts to 20th-century field photographs.
The Visual Resources of the Middle East (VRME) project aims to consolidate archival material on the Middle East from different libraries and galleries at Yale onto one platform. The project was initiated in 2018 by Kishwar Rizvi, Professor in the History of Art, with a Title VI Grant from the US Department of Education. Design development and metadata collection for the project was done by Alex Seggerman (PhD, 2014 and CMES post-doctoral fellow, 2018) and Dina Taha (MED, 2019), who amassed over 900 items from across collections for the initial launch in 2020. Lindsay King, Associate Director for Access and Research Services at the Haas Arts Library, was the liaison with Artstor who helped guide the project from its conception, and Maria Zapata, Technical Assistant at Haas, provided cataloging and uploading support. Marilyn Wilkes, Director of Communications at the MacMillan Center, helped conceptualize the project design and its publicity.
We are grateful to colleagues across Yale University, at the libraries and museums, who have kindly provided access and support. The project was generously funded by the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Title VI Program at the Macmillan Center Council on Middle East Studies and the History of Art Department at Yale University. About