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Archives of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Appointments required
Hours: 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday (excluding holidays)
Location: Perelman Building

The Archives of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is comprised of corporate records, manuscripts, personal papers, ephemera, scrapbooks, photographs, and artifacts which chronicle the history of the institution since its founding in 1876. Some materials have been microfilmed by the Archives of American Art. Researchers are encouraged to use microfilmed copies or other surrogates if original copies are extremely fragile.

Finding aids are available online for most collections.

Please note: when accessing materials, certain types of information may be available because of restrictions that protect the privacy rights of individuals or organizations, legitimate proprietary rights of the Museum, or for other reasons. However, the bulk of the collection is unrestricted and will be made available to researchers on a fair and equitable basis.


  • The Archives is open by appointment only for scholarly research. Appointments must be scheduled with at least two weeks advance notice.
  • In order to schedule an appointment, the researcher must provide a written description of the research project and indicate the collections to be consulted.
  • Permission to examine archival materials will be granted upon completion of a registration form and the researcher's agreement to follow the Archives’ Access Procedures.
  • The Archives provides access to the Museum’s records and manuscripts to the fullest extent possible on a fair and equitable basis. Certain materials are restricted to protect individual privacy rights and proprietary rights of the Museum.
  • Photocopies of archival materials may be made under certain conditions as stated in the Photocopy Policy and Copyright Notice. Photographs, color transparencies, and other reproduction options may be arranged through the Museum’s Rights and Reproductions Department. For more information, please contact call (215) 684-7902 or email .
  • Archival material may only be published with the written consent of the Archivist. Those seeking publication permission must submit a Permission to Publish Request form and a copy of the proposed manuscript. Archival material must be cited using the following format: [Item identification and date], [Series], [Record Group or Manuscript Collection], Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives.
  • Laptop computers are permitted in the Archives, but scanners are prohibited.
  • The Archives does not appraise materials. Please contact the American Society of Appraisers, P. O. Box 17265, Washington, D. C., 20041 at 1-800-272-8258 for a list of appraisers in a specific area.


The Philadelphia Museum of Art is pleased to make made its archival collections available to researchers, but requests their full cooperation in adhering to the following guidelines:

  • Personal belongings such as coats, briefcases, handbags, etc. should not be placed on the research table; items used for research (i.e. pencils, paper, lap-top computers) are allowed.
  • Researchers will receive permission to examine materials after showing a picture ID and filling out a Researcher Registration Form. This form includes an agreement to be signed that indicates that the researcher has read the Access Procedures and a warning concerning copyright law. The Researcher Registration Form, along with a list of records pulled, will be kept on file by the Archivist.
  • The Archivist will conduct a brief reference interview with the researcher, to determine areas of interest, possible search strategies, and a time frame for research.
  • Researchers should consult relevant finding aids to better acquaint themselves with the scope and content of the records they wish to access.
  • Materials in the Museum’s Archives do not circulate, and can only be used in the Archives’ office with the Archivist present. Staff will remove and reshelve all materials in storage areas for patrons.
  • Only one box at a time will be delivered; researchers should look through records one folder at a time, maintaining the order in which they were received. Researchers are requested to notify the Archivist if anything appears to be out of order; do not rearrange them yourself.
  • Materials may not be removed from the room and must be returned in the same condition as when they were borrowed. The Museum reserves the right to inspect the researcher’s belongings, and as a condition to obtaining access to the materials, the researcher consents to such search.
  • Please use a "common sense" approach when handling records:
    • Do not consume food or beverages at the reading table
    • Wash hands before handling materials
    • Use pencils
    • Do not erase or make marks on the documents
    • Do not trace or write on top of the documents
    • Gloves should be worn if examining photographic materials
    • Do not bend or crease brittle paper; support it against a stable flat surface, such as a folder or table-top.
    Any improper handling and/or damage will result in materials being taken away from the researcher, and his/her user privileges being suspended.
  • No images of the materials may be made by a camera, cell phone, scanner, or other device brought into the Archives.
  • Items to be copied should be marked with paper inserts, which the Archivist will provide. Please write your name, the date of the document, and the number of pages you want to be copied. The Archives staff will make photocopies for researchers.

Photocopy Policy

Photocopy Fees (per page)
Photocopies, self-service (Library only) 25 cents
Copies from microforms, self-service (Library only) 25 cents
Photocopies, made by staff (Library and Archives) 50 cents
Color photocopies, made by staff (Library and Archives) $3.00

Postage and Handling Fees
Within United States $5.00
Canada $7.50
International $10.00

Information about photocopies, postage and handling

  • Self-service photocopies cost 25 cents per page. Researchers can also make their own copies on the microfilm reader/printer for the same amount. Receipts are available upon request.
  • Photocopies made by staff cost 50 cents a page. This applies to Library materials copied for off-site users and all archival collections. Color photocopies can be made by staff and cost $3.00.
  • Permission to photocopy archival materials must be given by the Archivist; a staff member will do the photocopying as time permits.
    • Researchers requesting large amounts of copies (over 50) will be accommodated by staff as time permits.
    • Please allow 6–8 weeks for large orders to be completed and shipped.
  • A postage and handling fee will be charged for sending copies by mail to researchers. Invoices will be enclosed with the shipment for this charge and others that may apply.
  • The preferred payment for copies is by cash or check in US dollars.
  • Photographs, color transparencies, and other reproduction options may be arranged through the Museum’s Rights and Reproductions department. For more information, please contact the Rights and Reproduction department at (215) 684-7902 or at: .

Copyright Notice

  • Archival Copies will be stamped with a warning designating them as Museum property and for research use only.
    • Supplying a photocopy is not an authorization to publish.
    • Permission to publish or reproduce in any form must be applied for separately. Please use the Museum Archives' Permission to Publish form (available online or through the Archivist).
  • The Museum owns the copyright to archival materials produced by the staff of the institution.
  • In the case of third party correspondence and manuscript collections, the Museum often has property right, not copyright, to letters, photographs, sound recordings, and other materials.
    • Authorization to publish or quote from manuscripts must be sought from both the Museum and the owner of the copyright (or the heirs, estate, or literary executor).
    • It is the responsibility of researchers to obtain permission from all copyright holders before publication.

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