Explore LUX: A powerful new tool for searching Yale’s cultural heritage collections

  • Silhouette of back of woman with knee-length coat standing in front of large mural painted with interlocking red, black, and white horizontal stripes
July 25, 2023

In early summer, Yale University launched LUX: Yale Collections Discovery—a new cross-collection search tool. This extensive database provides users worldwide with online access to more than 17 million items within Yale University’s museums, libraries, and archives.

With LUX, students, researchers, scholars, and curious seekers are able to survey the cultural heritage holdings in the university’s diverse collections across campus. Previously there was no easy way to search all these collections at the same time.

Because of its unique capabilities, LUX encourages users to explore, find connections, and make surprising discoveries about people and subjects of special interest.

A case study

The influential artist and color theorist Josef Albers (1888–1976) was the chair of Yale School of Art’s Department of Design for eight years during the 1950s. His wife, artist and printmaker Anni Albers (1899–1994), was one of the foremost textile designers of the 20th century.

A search for “Josef Albers” within LUX reveals 425 physical or digital entries, held in 17 collections. A search for “Anni Albers” lists 265 objects in 11 collections.

Among the myriad objects that the LUX search delivers, relative to these two artists, are

  • books and papers in the collection of Yale Library (held at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Lewis Walpole Library, the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, and Sterling Library)
  • paintings, prints, and drawings at Haas Library and Yale University Art Gallery
  • a film about both artists in the Yale Film Archive
  • and, most surprisingly, at Yale Peabody Museum, eight entomological specimens collected by Josef Albers and, in the museum’s Anthropology Collection, a textile that had belonged to a student of Anni Albers at the experimental art school Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

Each item presents opportunities for further exploration.

Explore LUX: Yale Collections Discovery. Read more about the launch of LUX and watch a short video about the LUX platform.

—Deborah Cannarella

Image: Detail, photograph of viewer standing before portion of the mural Manhattan, painted by Josef Albers ca. 1963. Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections