Digital Image Requests

The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, offers scholars, researchers, and the general public the opportunity to purchase high-resolution digital images of materials in the museum’s object, photograph, and manuscript collections. Requests must be secured in writing from the museum for any kind of publication or distribution of NMAI-owned or -produced images. Exceptions are described below under “Allowable Uses.”

Copyright Information
The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, is the owner of the images it offers for purchase. In many instances, the museum only owns the digital image itself, and does not necessarily own copyright in the underlying object or work of art itself, which may be owned by an artist, artist’s estate, or other person or entity. The museum endeavors to provide information that it possesses about the copyright status for such works; however, the museum offers no guarantee that all pertinent information is provided or that the information is correct in each circumstance.

Therefore, it is the sole responsibility of the person seeking permission from the museum to determine whether any additional permission, such as copyright clearance, is necessary and, if so, for obtaining the required permission and related written documentation. The museum is not responsible for any costs, claims, liabilities, or damages incurred as a result of any violation of copyright, trademark, privacy, or publicity rights, or other claims arising from use of its images.

Allowable Uses
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) invites users to download, print, photocopy, and distribute the images on its website for personal or classroom use, without prior written permission, provided that the files are not changed, the Smithsonian Institution copyright notice (where applicable) is included, and the source of the image is identified as the National Museum of the American Indian. (See the museum’s preferred citation format below.) All other uses, except those that may be permitted by law, shall require prior written permission from the NMAI Archive Center. For further information about allowable uses of Smithsonian/museum content, please see the Smithsonian Institution Terms of Use.

Placing an Image Request

To place an image request, complete and sign a Digital Image Request and return the form to

Include details about intended use of the images and provide image catalog numbers, when possible. Image fees are determined by specific use cases, as specified below.

Image Fees
Image fees support the continued digitization of the NMAI's collections. All fees are per high resolution, publication-quality digital image file. Payments are non-refundable.





Requests for New Object Photography
New object photography costs $150 per object and requires at least four to six weeks for completion. If accepted, rush jobs with a two- to four-week turnaround time incur a 50% surcharge. A 100% surcharge is added for work accepted with a one-week turnaround time. Image fees still apply.

Photo Duplication of Materials in the Manuscript Collections

  • Photocopies are .25 cents per page.
  • All orders must be placed by completing a Photocopy Request Invoice Form and returning it via mail, fax, or email ( to the Archive Center.
  • All orders must be paid for in advance.
  • Completed photocopy orders will be mailed via USPS.
  • Publication-quality scans of manuscript materials are also available. Please refer to Image Fees, complete a Digital Image Request Form, and submit BOTH pages of the form via mail, fax, or email ( to the Archive Center.

Proper Citations and Credit Line
Unless otherwise indicated, for all publications, both print and electronic, the credit line for photographs and objects must read:

  • National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (catalog number).

If the image is of an object, cite the photographer, e.g.:

  • National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (catalog number). Photo by Katherine Fogden.

If the photographer is unknown:

  • National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (catalog number). Photo by NMAI Photo Services.

The credit line for manuscripts must read:

  • Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box, and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.