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
  • Consuelo Jiménez Underwood has blazed her own trail in fiber art, weaving with heritage and healing. Across borders, identities, and time, she creates works that celebrate the natural world and human connection. Learn more about her prolific practice and vivacious activism in this episode.   

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.

  • National collector Josh T. Franco writes about the large addition to the Emanuel Martínez Papers, illuminating his work with incarcerated youth and involvement in the Chicano movement.

The Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, is pleased to announce that it has acquired the papers of noted critic, writer, and broadcaster Robert Hughes. Measuring approximately 28 linear feet, the collection documents Hughes’s life and multifaceted career through extensive personal and professional correspondence; notebooks; drafts of articles, lectures, documentaries, and book projects; audio and video recordings; photographs; press clippings; and other personal records.

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