The University of Michigan History of Art Visual Resources Collections (VRC), the Center for Art and Archaeology (CA&A) of the American Institute of Indian Studies in Gurgaon, India (AIIS), and the American Council for Southern  Asian Art (ACSAA) are pleased to announce that, per a collaboration agreement reached in February 2014, over 12,000 low-resolution images (suitable for PowerPoint presentations), known collectively as the ACSAA Digital Images, are now newly available for free direct downloading for non-commercial, educational and scholarly purposes through the Virtual Museum of Images and Sounds (VMIS). Funded by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the virtual museum was recently created by using the image and sound archives of the CA&A, and the Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology (ARCE) – the two centers of the AIIS.

The ACSAA Digital Images were first distributed under the aegis of the ACSAA Color Slide Project, a non-profit initiative administered through the former Asian Art Archives of the University of Michigan that from 1974 through 2006 provided high quality original and duplicate 35 mm color slides of the art and architecture of India and greater South Asia, Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and the Himalayan regions to individuals and institutions for teaching and research purposes around the world. Based on an idea of University of Michigan Professor and then ACSAA President, Dr. Walter Spink, who served as the project director, the ACSAA Color Slide Project was created as the premier image resource to facilitate the study and teaching of the rich artistic heritage of Southern Asia. With these new iterations of the ACSAA images, the original project’s educational intentions have not only been maintained, but have now been expanded to make the images available on an even wider scale and without fee. The User simply needs to register (free of charge) on the VMIS website before the images can be downloaded (free of charge). 

The Visual Resources Collections maintains nearly 500,000 images of art. The collection’s roots are more than 90 years old and developed as a teaching collection to support faculty and students. As the University of Michigan’s Department of the History of Art evolved and became a center for scholarship, so did the VRC collection become an international resource.

The Center for Art and Archaeology, established in 1965, is an international leader in the documentation of Indic art and architecture. The CA&A welcomes scholars and students to its renowned Archive and Library. The CA&A Archive documents and maintains images and architectural plans for more than 7,000 monuments and ancient buildings. These resources have been primarily created by CA&A professional staff and include some contributed by research scholars. In addition, the Archive houses surveys of 350 museum collections in India, the results of documentation projects, some also commissioned and funded by the Government of India and carried out by CA&A staff. In total, the CA&A houses more than 200,000 images of Indic art and architecture. The CA&A also maintains a Library that stands among the finest collections on Indian art history in the subcontinent. This open-stack facility houses 75,000 books, journals, and maps.

The American Council for Southern Asian Art is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study and awareness of the art of South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayan regions. In addition to periodic symposia, usually held every two years, ACSAA pursues these goals through various projects, including its annual bulletin, bibliographies, and the distribution of assorted visual and research materials. Since its incorporation in 1967, ACSAA has grown from its original fifteen members to an organization of some three hundred individuals and institutions. ACSAA is formally affiliated with the College Art Association and the Association of Asian Studies. 

In addition to perpetuating the original educational mission of the ACSAA Color Slide Project, publishing the ACSAA Digital Images on the CA&A VMIS website bring the images "full circle" in an historical sense because the CA&A was initially founded in 1965 by ACSAA as the American Academy of Benares, which was subsequently merged with the American Institute of Indian Studies. Thus, the CA&A’s VMIS website is a fitting repository of the ACSAA Digital Images, and enables the images to be available to the people of India and beyond in a manner entirely consistent with the original ACSAA Color Slide Project.

The CA&A and AIIS are not responsible for supplying high-resolution images suitable for publication through the VMIS website. For publication-quality images, interested parties are required to contact the VRC directly at The VRC represents and warrants that, to the best of its knowledge, granting the right to display the ACSAA Digital Images in the stipulated manner is consistent with the Fair-Use Statue of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (Section 107) and does not violate any known third-party rights. Should any photographer or institution who holds rights to a photograph take issue with its publication on the VMIS website, upon notification to, the image(s) in question will be immediately removed. 

The museums and monuments covered in the ACSAA Digital Images are available in the ‘Collections’ of the ‘Center for Art and Archaeology’ at