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Oral History at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Oral history is an essential component to the archives program and complements our other collections with critical stories and insights.


The Oral History Collection preserves first-hand accounts of the museum’s activities. The museum's collection is comprised of transcripts, audio and video interviews with artists, museum staff, curators, and trustees. Oral history complements our other archival collections with critical stories and insights. Other prominent individuals associated with the museum who have performed interviews elsewhere are also linked in this guide.


​​The recording of oral histories began at the Museum in 2006 with an informal series of interviews with architect and preservationist that included Henry J. Magaziner (1911–2011) — a close friend of noted architect Julian Francis Abele (1881–1950), a noted architect and co-designer of the museum’s main building; Ella Schaap, Curator Emerita of Dutch Tiles; and Beatrice Garvan, Curator Emerita of American Decorative Arts.

In 2008, a formal oral history project for the museum began thanks to funding by Julian Brodsky and Martha Hamilton Morris. This project continues to support the Library and Archives' oral history interviews.

Please note interviewees have the option to restrict or embargo all or part of their interview for a period of time. Not all interviews may be cleared for public use.