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Bunting Visual Resources Library Collection

Identifier: PICT-2017-001

Scope and Content

The Collection includes selected items representing the activities of the former Bunting Visual Resources Library. This extensive collection is preserved as an example of pedagogy and methodologies in art, architecture an cultural studies, as well as documenting an aspect of the evolution and management of collections developed to support instruction in visual culture. Formats include slides, study photographs, and digital photographs, along with administrative, project, and vendor records.

The culled 35mm slide collection available at the Center for Southwest Research reflects the intersection of CSWR collecting on the Southwest and BVRL support of program strengths and curricular specializations in the College of Fine Arts and School of Architecture and Planning at UNM, with a special focus on New Mexico art and architecture. While the original slide collection numbered over 360,000 at its greatest extent, only 90,000 slides were transferred to CSWR when the Bunting library closed.

Original cataloging labels with classification number and formatted identifying descriptions remain on slides. Teaching collection slides are further recognizible by glass sandwich or plastic Gepe-brand slide binders. Donated, but never cataloged, slides are integrated into series groupings. These slides are recognizable by non-standardized labels and bindings.

A final collection review, begun in 2015 and concluded late 2016, examined sources for each cataloged slide, or uncatalogued groups of slides. This process suggested that arrangement by source (provenance) was more relevant for archival purposes than retaining drawer filing order. Where possible classification based on medium and subject is maintained as a secondary ordering in the new series/subseries organization. Thus, the collection is organized by source and subject into broad series with numerous subseries including:
  1. Donors - slides grouped alphabetically by donor
  2. Architecture - slides grouped by location and style or design practice
  3. MA and MFA Archive - slides submitted by students to meet degree requirements
  4. Art in New Mexico - slides of art and artists associated with New Mexico
  5. Visual Culture and Cultural Studies - slides of Native American, PreColumbian & Colonial sites and objects
Non-slide items include photographic prints, paper records and digital images.
  1. Study photographs - selected mounted and unmounted reproduction and original photographic prints, along with a small collection of film stills. The majority of the collection are 8x10" prints, mounted on 11x14" archival boards. The mounted photo collection has been re-organized as an artifact of the history of photography as well as teaching art history, with special attention given to known creators, photographic processes, and print techniques of the study prints themselves.
  2. Administrative and Project Files - paper records document annual administrative functions along with projects and processes in which Bunting staff engaged. Also preserved are vendor records -- catalogs and information used for collection development.
  3. Digital facility photographs - born digital documentation of the library and remodel projects.


  • 1948-2016
  • Majority of material found within 1960-2005

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.

UNM holds copyright for select donor collections, including George Anselevicius, Bainbridge Bunting, Edith Cherry, and Van Dorn Hooker. Further accession and source information is generally available upon request from the Pictorial Archivist.


Originally called the “Slide Library,” the Bunting Visual Resources Library in the University of New Mexico's College of Fine Arts began as a personal collection of slides in Professor Bainbridge Bunting’s office in the Art Department in 1948. Along with Lester Haas, some seed money, and student workers, Dr. Bunting photographed, bound, and organized his own and newly created slides, using an abbreviated version of the Fogg Museum system for slide classification. When the collection outgrew its office location, its first move was to a basement room of the art department on Redondo in the former UNM Library and current art graduate student studios building. A decade later, the College of Fine Arts Dean negotiated with the General Library and successfully placed the administration of the Fine Arts Slide Library under the Art Museum. Its final site was in the New Art Building, completed in 1977, when the Slide Library moved into a custom designed space on the building's third floor. The facility boasted two slide review rooms, slide and mounted photo study spaces, individual light table work-space for art and architecture history faculty, plus director's office, staff work and break rooms, with a separate photo studio and darkroom.

Likewise, the slide library's audience evolved with its physical moves. In 1965, a joint memo between the College and Library restricted circulation of the 46,000 slide collection to the art faculty and graduate students. In 1975, the College expanded the Slide Library user group to include the newly created School of Architecture and Planning. By the 1980s, the slide collection numbered 250,000 slides, and policies were again liberalized with access and circulation expanded to faculty from departments across the University campus.

Staffing levels ranged from one librarian with student help to four full-time staff (director, two professionals managing technical and access funtions, and one para-professional) plus graudate and undergraduate student employees (half-time photographer, collection development and cataloging interns, re-filers, and projectionists.)

Staff conducted a range of activities. In the 1970s, beyond managing the teaching slide and study print collection, slide library staff photographed exhibits at the Art Museum and Teaching Gallery, and theater arts productions. An archive of MA and MFA student work was formalized. And to support the growing image collection, artist and architect authority files were developed.

In the 1980s, the Slide Library was operating as an independent unit in the College of Fine Arts, with its own budget and director answering directly to the College Dean. In 1984, the department’s name was changed to the Bainbridge Bunting Memorial Slide Library (BBMSL) in honor of Professor Bunting (1913-1981, faculty 1948-1979.)

The BBMSL was among the first collegiate slide libraries to introduce computers into its slide management processes. The first software project, in 1989, was a label generating program, SALL-PC, written in BASIC for DOS. In the mid-1990s, BBMSL constructed its first database, custom designed in MS Access, from its authority files of artist and architects with works represents in its collection. Called the Checklist of Creators, it took several years to populate, but by 2000 the library was able to close its artist and architecture authority files.

The analog to digital transition played out in real time at the BBMSL, where staff next developed a relational database of artworks and images, linking them to its existing Checklist of Creators. The SQL client/server database called VISIC (VISual Information Checklist), custom designed by John Kelser of AppQuest, was ready for faculty use in 2001. An outgrowth of this project was the 2000 publication of VIRCONA: a catalog of Native American artists ( Bunting staff continued to license new material and selectively scan legacy slides to develop a significant digital image collection for both VISIC and VIRCONA.

Further reflecting the instructional move to digital images, the Bainbridge Bunting Memorial Slide Library underwent another name change, and in 2005 became the Bunting Visual Resources Library (BVRL). By 2007 the BVRL offered its users a collection of over 36,000 digital images and 350,000 slides. At this point, in a joint agreement with the University Libraries, UNM acquired the Artstor digital library. Through this significant subscription, millions of images are available to all Artstor subscribers, and UNM researchers gain access to an additional 80,000 images provided by BVRL to support UNM’s unique programs.

The BVRL was closed by the College of Fine Arts in May 2016. Digital images continue to be accessible though Artstor. Unique and subject-specialized slides were transferred to Center for Southwest Research Special collections and are described elsewhere in this guide. History of Photography, Printmaking, Native American art and architecture, and Mesoamerican/PreColumbian slides were kept by the Art department. The remaining copy-photography slides were shared with the UNM arts community.


90,800 plus items (88 boxes, 1 folder) : Approximately 90,000 35mm slides, 800 study photographs, and 15 boxes of paper records ; primarily 2 x 2 in mounted 35 mm slides


Collection includes selected items representing the activities of the former Bunting Visual Resources Library at UNM. Formats include slides, study photographs, and digital photographs, along with administrative, project, and vendor records. The primary subjects are New Mexico architecture and art, and image sources determine arrangement.


The materials in the Bunting Library collection are arranged into 8 series by format and subject. The first 5 series are 35mm photographic slides arranged by provenance and subject. The remaining series are arranged by format and subject.

Series 1: Donors, 1950-2005

Series 2: Architecture, 1950s-2007

Series 3: MA and MFA Archive, 1950-2010

Series 4: Art in New Mexico, 19th - 20th century

Series 5: Visual Culture and Cultural Studies, 1970s-1980s

Series 6: Study photographs, 1855-1960s

Series 7: Administrative and Project Files, 1970s-2016

Series 8: Digital facility photographs, 2000-2016

Physical Location

B2. Filed with Pictorial Collections; oversize material shelved in Large Drawers (Folder) and Big Box location (boxes 66-69 & 70A).

Alternate Format Available

Bunting Library licensed and published content in Artstor (available only to the UNM community)

Related Archival Material

Bainbridge Bunting Photograph Collection Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Slides of Native American, History of Photography, Printmaking, and PreColumbian/MesoAmerican objects are held by Art & Art History for ongoing review and projects.

VIRCONA: a catalog of Native American artists is a searchable database of Native American artists and representative art developed from BVRL resources to support coursework at UNM.

Processing Information

Material transferred from UNM College of Fine Arts to College of Libraries and Learning Sciences during FY17; processing was completed in late 2020.
Finding Aid of the Bunting Visual Resources Library Collection, 1948-2016
Edited Full Draft
Cindy Abel Morris
© 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131