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Make an Appointment

The museum Archives are open to everyone, free of charge, and used for all types of research. We are happy to provide assistance. When you are planning your visit, please fill out our appointment form at least three days in advance.

If possible, we recommend you provide a list of collections, boxes, and folders you wish to consult, so your materials can be pulled in time for your appointment. Please consult our finding aids, which are searchable descriptive inventories for our collections.

When you arrive for your appointment, we will ask you to fill out a registration form and follow our Access Procedures, listed below. You are welcome to use a laptop, camera, tablet, and/or smartphone.

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday (excluding holidays)
Location: 2nd Floor, Perelman Building

Access Procedures

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

1) Personal belongings such as coats, briefcases, handbags, etc.,should not be placed on the research table; items used for research (i.e. pencils, paper, laptop computers) are allowed.

2) Researchers will receive permission to examine materials after filling out a Researcher Registration Form once per non-consecutive appointment. This form includes an agreement to be signed that indicates that the researcher has read the Access Procedures and the notice concerning copyright law. The Researcher Registration Form will be kept on file by the Archivist.

3) Materials in the museum’s Archives do not circulate, and can only be used in the reading room with Library & Archives staff present. Staff will remove and return all materials to storage areas for patrons. 

4) Researchers should examine records one box at a time, one folder at a time, maintaining the order in which they were received. Researchers will notify the Archivist if anything appears to be out of order and will not rearrange the records themselves. 

5) Materials may not be removed from the reading room and must be returned in the same condition as when they were received for research.  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. 

6) Please use a common sense approach when handling records:
Do not consume food or beverages at the reading table

  • Wash hands before handling materials
  • Only use pencils
  • Do not erase or make marks on the documents
  • Do not trace or write on top of the documents
  • Clean gloves should be worn only 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
  • Always support fragile bound material, such as scrapbooks, correctly. Ask for a cradle if needed.
  • Do not remove materials from plastic sleeves unless given permission by a staff member.
  • Any improper handling and/or damage will result in materials being taken away from the researcher, and their user privileges being suspended. Archives staff can provide a magnifying glass, gloves, and appropriate support for fragile material. 

7) Digital images may be taken with a camera, cell phone, or tablet, as long as the flash is turned off. Researchers may also use the BookEye scanner for archival material with permission of a staff member.

8)  Staff can also assist with making copies or scans, within reason, for patrons as a free service, including to remote researchers.

  • Items to be copied or digitized should be marked with paper inserts, which are available at the reading table.
  • Place the flag perpendicularly in front of the desired document(s) in the folder, so when the folder is returned to the box, the flag is visible.
  • We may be able to copy or scan an order of a few items the same day. Please allow 1–2 weeks for requests of larger quantities.

Please note: when accessing materials, certain types of information may not 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 collections are unrestricted and will be made available to researchers on a fair and equitable basis.