I’ve posted about finding royalty- and copyright-free images on line before. In this post, I’d like to share an often overlooked source: the U.S. Government. Many government departments have images in the public domain, which usually means that teachers can use them in presentations, classroom activities, and almost any not-for-profit ways you can imagine. Of course, there are exceptions, so be sure to read the fine print.
The U.S. Mint
The Mint publishes some very nice images of the money it produces including coins commemorating states, presidents, first ladies, national parks, and significant historical events. Most are available for free download, though a few are copyrighted (such as the Sacagawea dollar coin). There are also a few anti-counterfeiting restrictions on reproducing paper money, so be sure to read the fine print on the website.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has some amazing copyright-free images and videos available. Whether you are looking for images of astronauts, rockets or other spacecraft, or images of outerspace, the NASA website has you covered. Some of the images include those from the Hubble Telescope which has captured extraterrestrial images for over a decade. There are lots of science- and engineering-related images, and the website makes it easy to search for them.
You might not ordinarily think to look on the website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but but the Public Health Image Library has lots of interesting stock images available, related to topics such as home safety, personal hygiene, agriculture, child safety and more. Of course, you’ll also find lots of images of bacteria, microscopic pests, and other diseases, some of which may not be suitable for children.
For links to photos from more U.S. Government photos and images, visit the USA.gov website. You will find links to images from lots of other departments related to agriculture, the environment, defense, safety, science and technology and others. In essence, these images are “free” because you’ve paid for them with your taxes. So, don’t hesitate to take a look and use them if you need to.