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About the Library and Archives


The Library houses materials dating from the sixteenth century to the present and contains approximately 285,000 print and electronic books, periodicals, auction catalogues, and online databases; and over 190,000 cataloged digital images. Reflecting the museum's rich and distinctive collections, the Library's holdings focus on European, American, and Asian painting and sculpture; furniture and decorative arts; arms and armor; costume and textiles; prints, drawings, and photographs; and modern and contemporary art.


The Archives contains 4,252 linear feet of archival materials and serves as the Philadelphia Museum of Art's (PMA) repository for its institutional memory. Documenting the key activities of our directors, curators, and donors since PMA’s founding in 1876, archival collections include the personal papers, research, and manuscript collections of people related to the PMA. In total, these collections help tell the stories behind our works of art, exhibitions, events, artists, and the creative communities we serve.

Purpose and Vision

Purpose: We promote exploration of the museum's collections and the world of art. We make our distinctive collections accessible to all. We provide outstanding service. We are the Philadelphia Museum of Art Library and Archives.

Vision: We connect you to art information in creative and innovative ways, empowering exploration in a welcoming space.