First try the search box on the right; this searches all of the collections information and oral history interviews we have. You also can view an alphabetical list of collections and interviews by name of creator in Research Collections. If you are looking for images, try searching the Image Gallery, or browse the Fully Digitized Collections. If you need assistance, use the Ask Us form to email our Reference staff.
Each collection is different. The description on this website should indicate whether part or all of the collection is available online or on microfilm.
- All Online: Fully Digitized Collections can be viewed wholly online, ordered by box and folder, just as you would find them in our reading room.
- Partly Online: The Image Gallery displays a selection of documents and records which have been digitized and individually described.
- Microfilm: You may use microfilmed collections at the Archives’ research centers in Washington, DC or New York City, or at one of four affiliated research centers around the country. For details, see Hours & Locations. If you cannot visit a research center, ask your school or public librarian to borrow the microfilm from us. Direct your librarian to: www.aaa.si.edu/askus/interlibrary-loan.
- Original Materials: Use of collections that have not been microfilmed or digitized requires a visit to our reading room in Washington, D.C. Space is limited, so please submit an appointment request as far in advance of your planned visit as possible.
No, we are not permitted to give appraisals nor advise you on how much an object or collection may be worth. We recommend you consult the Guide to Researching Your Art, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
You can see a list of the types of materials we are looking for at Donating Papers to the Archives of American Art, as well as information on how to get in touch with the curatorial staff.
Our microfilm collections are owned either by the Archives of American Art or by another organization or individual. In a research paper, citations should read as follows:
- If owned by the Archives: Collection name, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. [Microfilm reel numbers].
- If owned by another organization: Collection name. Owned by [Organization name]; microfilmed by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. [Microfilm reel numbers].
- If owned by an individual: Collection name. Owned by [owners name]; microfilmed by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. [Microfilm reel numbers]
For detailed instructions as well as reproduction fees, see Image Rights and Reproductions.
Yes, we have an active program of loaning documents to other institutions. See Borrowing Documents for Exhibitions.
Excerpts of interviews can be made available for use in publications and exhibitions pending approval. Polices, procedures and fee information are available at Use of Audio Recording Excerpts from Oral History Interviews.