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

The Museum’s 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 Museum’s corporate memory. Documenting the key activities of our directors, curators, and donors since the Museum’s founding in 1876, archival collections include the personal papers, research, and manuscript collections of people related to the Museum. In total, these collections help tell the stories behind our works of art, exhibitions, events, artists, and the creative communities we serve.


Library CatalogArchives CatalogOnline ResourcesDigitized CollectionsLibrary and Archives Federated Search

The Library subscribes to a host of online resources that may be accessed on site using the public workstations. Free WiFi is available in Reading Room.

Auction Resources

Databases and Indexes

Image Resources

  • British Museum Online Collection Database
    Most images are available to order free of charge for non-commercial use through the individual object pages.
  • David Rumsey Map Collection
    71,000 items high resolution images of maps that are free and open to the public.
  • Digital Scriptorium
    Digital Scriptorium is a growing consortium of libraries and museums committed to free online access to their collections of pre-modern manuscripts.
  • DPLA Images
    DPLA Images lets you search the Digital Public Library of America, a collection of millions of cultural heritage objects from libraries, archives, and museums across the country, for images. Enter a search term, or click "surprise me" for a treat.
  • Free Stock Photos
    High resolution free stock photos.
  • Getty Museum (Open Content Program)
    The Getty Museum now has an Open Content Program, which makes their digital content and public domain images available for any purpose, free of charge, and no permission needed. When searching the Getty collection, look for a download button on the full image record; this signifies that the image is open content.
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections
    Digital images from across all LOC divisions. Many are available as TIFF downloads and can be used under fair use.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Metropolitan Museum of Art made over 400,000 images available for free download for non-commercial use as a part of its Open Access for Scholarly Content initiative.
  • Museum of New Zealand
    Museum of New Zealand has recently made over 30,000 images available for download and re-use in high resolution as a part of its Collections Online library. It’s best to search this page after first checking the “with downloadable images” check box so that you only get results that are free for download. Each image specifies its license, many of which are remixable and have no copyright associated with them at all.
  • National Archives Flickr Commons
    All of the U.S. National Archives’ images that are part of The Flickr Commons are marked “no known copyright restrictions.”
  • National Archives Online Catalog
    NARA's online Catalog is the online portal to its collection. Generally, materials produced by Federal agencies are in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission.
  • National Gallery of Art Collection Online
    From Byzantine altarpieces to pop art, learn all about paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and other works in the collection. Browse the collection and make connections among objects you know and newly discovered masterpieces. Images of these works are now available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial.
  • Rijksmuseum
    This collection, containing over 125,000 works of art and counting, provides high-resolution images to download and use for free.
  • Wellcome Library
    The Wellcome Library in London made 100,000 art and medicine images available online for open use. This collection is where to look for offbeat, bizarre photos including medical art of all types including manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements. The images may be used for commercial or personal purposes, with an acknowledgement of the original source (Wellcome Library, London).
  • WorldImages
    Contains approximately 100,000 images, is global in coverage and includes all areas of visual imagery. You are free to use these images for non-profit educational purposes, but give credit to the copyright holders who retain rights to the images. These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.
  • Yale Center for British Art
    Every effort is made to include at least one image with each record from the art collections. For works in the public domain, images may be downloaded free of charge. With print publication in mind, downloads are offered in TIFF format in three different sizes appropriate for quarter-page, half-page, and full-page reproduction.

Access
The Library is open to the public with a Researcher’s Pass which can be obtained from the guard at the Perelman Building entrance.

All materials, regardless of location, require advance paging which occurs twice daily, once in the morning and afternoon. The Library is a closed-stack (non-browsing), non-circulating collection. Digital images may be taken with a camera, cell phone, or tablet, as long as the flash is turned off and no tripod is used. Additionally an overheard book scanner is available free of charge. Researchers may bring their own portable USB or save to the cloud.

The Library is a participating member in the PALCI Reciprocal On-Site Borrowing Program. We offer Interlibrary Loan services (ILL) to faculty members currently employed at PALCI member institutions. Faculty members must provide valid PALCI institution issued identification. For more information on the PALCI Reciprocal Borrowing Program please contact us.

Contact Us
For more information, to request image files, or to ask a reference question, please e-mail , or call 215-684-7650

Note: The Library does not appraise materials. Please contact the American Society of Appraisers, P.O. Box 17265, Washington, D. C., 20041 at 1-800-272-8258 for a list of appraisers in a specific geographic area.


National Digital Stewardship Residency

The Museum, in partnership with ARLIS/NA, is implementing a National Digital Stewardship Residency program for art information professionals through generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) via a 2016 Laura Bush 21st-Century Librarian Program grant.

The National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program fosters digital information expertise through meaningful hands-on experiences. NDSR Art supports art librarians and visual resource curators in their endeavor to provide long-term, durable access to born-digital works of art and publications, images, institutional repositories, and interactive technologies. NDSR Art enhances skills to ensure quality access, presentation, and preservation of our digital cultural heritage for twenty-first-century users and future generations. Over the course of two years, eight residents will be matched with host institutions across the country for twelve-month paid residencies.

Visit the NDSR Art website for more information.




Frequently Asked Questions
  • Images of many of the works in the collection may be downloaded directly from PMA Collections Online. These images are supplied at no charge and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes.
  • Questions are answered in the order received. Staff consult reference books and other relevant sources to answer your question. Because of the number of inquiries received, a response may take four to six weeks.
  • As a matter of policy, the Philadelphia Museum of Art does not provide monetary evaluations of works of art or collectibles.

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