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.
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 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.
- 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.