To get an overview of the history of the museum, you can read a decade-by-decade history on the Our Story page. This page will tell you about our origins, major exhibitions and acquisitions, as well as building campaigns.
The name, as well as the physical location, of the museum has changed since the museum first opened in 1876. Below you'll find key dates, names, and locations, which should aid you in your research.
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. You can learn more about our archival collections and booking an appointment here.
The museum extends the reach of its collections and exhibitions to a diverse audience through the publication of exhibition catalogs, popular books, and handbooks. You can find a full list of our titles from 1906 to the present, along with links to library catalog records and full-text access, here.
The museum Bulletin was published from 1903–2012. These are all available via JSTOR (please note that from 1903–1938, the publication was called the Pennsylvania Museum of Art Bulletin. The name was changed to reflect the museum's name change). The bulletin is also available via the Internet Archive. Hard copies from 1903 through 2008 are available in the library reading room.
Annual Reports were published from 1892 to 1948 and then again from 1979 through 2015, when printing ceased. The Annual Reports are available online through 1948, as well as for 2016, 2017, and 2018. Copies from 1892 through 2015 are available for use in the library.
Alongside the Annual Report and Bulletin, the Board of Trustee (and related committees) minutes are another good resource for learning about staffing changes, major acquisitions, as well as departmental shifts. These records are a part of our archival collection. Please consult the finding aid and contact the archives if you are interested in accessing these records.
The PMA website has been crawled by the Wayback Machine since December 1998. The content has been captured over 4,500 times and is available here.