Since its earliest days as a collection of slides housed in shoeboxes in the now-demolished Peebles Hall, the Visual Resources Center has supported visual literacy at the College. That collection eventually grew to approximately 55,000 35 mm slides, and in time moved out of the Art department and under the administration of Watzek Library, where it has remained. The rise of digital images has also transformed the VRC. At this moment, the historic slide collection is in the process of being dismantled for donation and digitization, and the VRC is increasingly emphasizing services over collections. However, the essential mission—supporting visual literacy and the image needs of faculty for teaching—remains constant.
Visual literacy is a diffuse term, and its meaning for art historians may bear little resemblance to its meaning for environmental scientists—or, for that matter, for a body of librarians. A guiding principle of the VRC is that faculty are the best experts on what matters visually in their own areas. The most essential service the VRC can provide is to respond with agility to connect faculty and students with their visual needs. Faculty members with ideas or questions about bringing images into their teaching are strongly encouraged to contact Erica, or to look at a more detailed list of the VRC's services.