Archives of American Art

The Archives of American Art is the world’s preeminent and most widely used research center dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary sources that document the history of the visual arts in America.

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What's Happening at the Archives
  • New York-based artist Koyoltzintli describes her journey from photojournalism to healing through ritual and reclamation. From finding threads with her ancestral roots to linking medium with memory, Koyoltzintli discusses the importance of experimentation and listening in her practice, especially for thinking across time and lineage. New Mexico-based artist Erica Lord also describes creative expression during fraught times as a key to connecting across history.

Mail art (alternatively called “correspondence art” or “postal art”) emerged as a form of artistic practice in which an international network of participants use the mail to make art and share it with others regarding culture and communications, creatively sidestepping the art market and, in many instances, eluding government censors.

  • Detail of color screenshot of Judith Bernstein in front of one of her paintings wearing a black blouse and light-colored, chunky necklace holding her hand up in a fist as if making a point in conversation.

    February 23, 2023

    New Collections: Oral History

    Ben Gillespie, the Arlene and Robert Kogod Secretarial Scholar for Oral History, reflects on four oral history interviews recently conducted for the Archives of American Art

Anne Helmreich has been named the director of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, effective Feb. 27, 2023. Helmreich is currently the associate director of grants programming at the Getty Foundation and brings 35 years of experience in higher education and arts administration to this new role.

About the Archives

Original material can be consulted by appointment in our Washington, D.C. Headquarters.

Select holdings are available on microfilm at the Archives' offices in Washington, D.C. and at our New York Office.

Copies of unrestricted microfilm materials can be obtained through one of our affiliated research centers.

Internship, fellowship, and volunteer opportunities provide students and lifelong learners with the ability to contribute to the study and preservation of visual arts records in America.

A virtual repository of a substantial cross-section of the Archives' most significant collections.

Visit the Terra Foundation Center for Digital Collections