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Links about history, geography,  culture and more for 4th grade Wisconsin studies.


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Copyright-free Images

Whether you are seeking images to illustrate a lesson or your students want graphics for multimedia presentations, these sites can help you get started. To download an image from the Internet, move your cursor over it, then click and hold down the mouse button (Macintosh) or right click (PC) and choose the "save" option. (Read this note on copyright!)

Digital Science Online features science images and animations and is available for use by Wisconsin teachers and students through Wisconsin Media Lab. The collection spans topics from atoms and biomes to volcanoes and weather, and images may be legally downloaded and used for instruction or in student multimedia projects. Click on "Digital Science Online" from our home page to access the collection (Wisconsin residents only).

Thousands of images that may be legally used by teachers and students are available to Wisconsin residents through BadgerLink. You just need to know how to find them! Here are two different sources:

  • Encyclopedia Britannica - high quality, large sized images for many topics. From BadgerLink, choose your encyclopedia level (elementary, middle or high), then click on Media Collection to browse images (or search for your topic to find images and information).
  • EBSCO - images for science, history and many other topics. From BadgerLink, click on EBSCO's Service List, scroll to the bottom and choose Image Collection.


The imageide@s collection offers images that focus on Wisconsin's ethnic and cultural diversity, geology, biology, landmarks and history. These images are catalogued by subject, graded level and key word.

Pixabay is a repository for outstanding public domain images. You can freely use any image from this website in digital and printed format, for personal and commercial use, without attribution requirement to the original author.

Many U.S. Government Photos and Images are in the public domain and may be used and reproduced without permission or fee. (Several government image collections are also describe below).

The NOAA Central Library Photo Collection features 10,000 digitized images of weather and space, shorelines and coastal seas, and marine species ranging from the great whales to minute plankton. These photographs are in the public domain. Students and teachers may use them but must credit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System features images of wildlife and habitats. Unless otherwise noted, these images are in the public domain, but be sure to credit the photographer and the agency that provided the picture.

U.S. Department of the Interior Photo Library contains links to several sources for photographs from several federal agencies.

NGA Images is a repository of digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. More than 20,000 open access digital images up to 3000 pixels each are available free of charge for download and use. Images are available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial. Users do not need to contact the Gallery for authorization to use these images.

NASA’s Planetary Photojournal has almost 2,000 images of Earth and other planets from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Teachers or students may use them in the preparation of course or instructional materials.

Hubblesite Gallery includes images of planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and much more. Images may be used for educational and research purposes without permission, but the source (AURA/STScI) must be acknowledged.

The NASA Multimedia Gallery, lists all of NASAs many images in one place.

Images of the Antarctic provides copyright-free photographs of Antarctica and the subantarctic. Among subjects are seals, ships, penguins, huskies, and scenery.

The Exploratorium's Digital Asset Archive is a searchable archive of science- and Exploratorium-related digital images, movies, audio, and more—all available for use by the public. Ice Stories Polar Media Collection contains a selection of photos and videos about the arctic and antarctic that are available for use and download by teachers and students.

The National Park Service has an extensive website with individual entries for most national parks. Try the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore for lighthouse photos, Mojave National Preserve for desert plants and animals, and so on.

Pics4Learning is a copyright-friendly image library for teachers and students from the Orange County Public Schools. The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers, and amateur photographers.

Art Images for College Teaching (AICT) provides photographs of ancient, medieval, Renaissance European and non-western art and architecture. Each image includes a concise description, and images are indexed according to their inclusion in a number of widely used undergraduate art history survey textbooks. Students and teachers may use these image resources in any application that is both educational in intent and non-commercial in nature. Please give credit to "AICT/Allan T. Kohl."

CalPhotos is a collection of over 48,000 images of plants, animals, fossils, people, and landscapes from the University of California Digital Library. Users can browse or search the collection. Copyright restrictions vary from photo to photo, but are clearly indicated.

The Emilio Segre Visual Archives, from the American Institute of Physics, contains thousands of photographs of physicists and astronomers. Images are for noncommercial and educational use only; any public use (such as a website) requires written permission.

The World War I Image Archive contains hundreds of historical photographs divided by categories such as heads of state, refugees, aviation, weapons and equipment, and more. Images may be used by teachers and students but credit must be given to the archive.

Historic Artwork and Images from the U.S. Army Center of Military History Institute provides photographs of 19th- and 20th-century wars. All photos are in the public domain.

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center provides a photo gallery and video gallery with images from World War I, the Civil War and more.

American Memory is the online collection of the Library of Congress, with thousands of historical photographs, maps, and documents that can be browsed by collection or searched. Teachers and students may use most of the images, but be sure to abide by any copyright notices included in the collections. Several sample collections:

The New York Public Library Digital Gallery provides free and open online access to hundreds of thousands of images. Categories include arts and literature, cities and buildings, history and geography, industry and technology, nature and science. Images may be freely downloaded for personal, research, and study purposes only.

The Smithsonian Collections Research Center provides a database of images video and sound files from the Smithsonian's museums, archives & libraries.. Categories include art and design, history and culture, and science and technology.. The image files are available for non-commercial, personal use; see Terms of Use.

The National Archives contains many historic images. Use the Digital Copies search to limit your search to images.

The World Factbook, from the Central Intelligence Agency, includes maps and flags from every country, all in the public domain.

Flags of the World provides larger images of flags and information about each. A "coloring book" features black and white drawings of flags that can be colored in.

The Creative Commons Search allows you to search flickr, Google Images and Wikimedia Commons for images with specific Creative Commons license types.

The WikiMedia Commons WikiMedia Commons is a great place to find copyright-free images especially of people. Copyright information is listed for each image. Please note: This search engine may find images that are inappropriate for school viewing.

Google Image Search and AltaVista Image Search allow users to search the Web for images on the topic of your choice. Please note: This search engine may find images that are inappropriate for school viewing, and many images may be copyright protected.



Copyright Note: Always check copyright information for any image you plan to use. Most sites include instructions on how to give credit for images that you download and include in lessons or presentations.

It's never too early to teach students about copyright infringement. You may want to consider making appropriate use of copyrighted images one of your evaluation criteria for multimedia projects.

Wisconsin Model Academic Standards D.4.3, D.8.3, and D.12.3 for information and technology literacy suggest ways to teach respect for intellectual property. See the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia for specific information.

Created 7/2005
Last updated 6/29/2011
Check out more Arts videos and teacher resources from Wisconsin Media Lab. Visit WIMediaLab if you are a Wisconsin student or teacher.

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