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As one of the major art reference libraries in the United States, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Library and Archives house materials dating from the 1400s to the present.

 

Approximately 285,000 auction catalogs, books, e-books, ephemera, periodicals, and online database subscriptions in the library reflect the museum’s collections, which 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 hold a variety of materials, including corporate records, manuscripts, personal papers, ephemera, scrapbooks, photographs, and artifacts which chronicle the history of our institution. We have directors' records, departmental records, personal papers, and manuscript collections. 


Library Catalog

Explore the Library Catalog >>

 

The library's online catalog is the primary discovery tool for our collections, containing records for print and select digital holdings and is freely searchable for all patrons.

Users may also create an account which will allow them to submit requests for materials electronically and manage their use.  

Patrons who do not have an account can, instead, create lists of resources and print or email the catalog records in advance of a visit to the Library Reading Room

Please contact library@philamuseum.org to create your account login or to plan your visit once the library and archives are opened again.


Digital Resources

Explore Our Digital Resources >>

 

The library and archives subscribe to a variety of online resources, most of which are focused on art, design, fashion and the humanities. Most library resources are available to researchers within the reading room.

Museum staff and volunteers may access many of these resources offsite using OpenAthens.


Research Guides

Explore our Research Guides >>

 

Our librarians and archivist have created guides to assist you in your exploration and use of our collections and resources. Learn how to research the PMA, use our archives and access tools, or find information on objects in the museum's collection.


Journal Finder

Search Gold Rush >>

 

Gold Rush provides a concise listing of every format available in the library for a given periodical, differentiating between print editions, full-text electronic access, and citation-only electronic access.

 If the periodical you need does not show up in Gold Rush, you can use Interlibrary Loan to request article scans.


Explorit Search

Search Across Collections >>

 

Explorit is a federated search platform. Here you can simultaneously search our library catalog, archives catalog, artworks in the museum's online collections, as well as some of our popular databases.

Please note that not all of our database subscriptions are included in this platform.


Archives Search and Finding Aids

Explore the Archives >>

 

The Archives documents the key activities of the museum, our directors, curators, and all other departments involved in programs and operations since our founding in 1876. Our collections also include the personal papers and manuscript collections of people related to the museum, which helps us tell the story of the institution and its collections.


Online Museum Collection Search

Explore the PMA's Permanent Collection >>

 

More than half of the works in the museum's extensive collection are online: 155,573 objects from the collection of over 240,000. We add more objects to the database every week so be sure to check back to see what’s new.


WorldCat Discovery

Search Libraries Across the World >>

 

WorldCat Discovery helps people easily find resources in all kinds of formats available at the library and in libraries worldwide through a single search.