About the Collections

Learn about the Archives' holdings.

Our resources serve as reference for countless dissertations, exhibitions, catalogs, articles, and books on American art and artists, and preserve the untold stories that—without a central repository such as the Archives—might have otherwise been lost.

Our vast holdings are a vital resource to anyone interested in American culture over the past 200 years and consist of more than 20 million letters, diaries, scrapbooks, manuscripts, financial records, photographs, films, and audiovisual recordings of artists, dealers, collectors, critics, scholars, museums, galleries, associations, and other art world figures.  The Archives also houses the largest collection of oral histories anywhere on the subject of art.

Founded on the belief that the public needs free and open access to the most valuable research materials, our collections are available to all who wish to consult original papers at our research centers or use our reference services remotely every year, and to millions who visit us online to consult digitized collections.

Future Growth

The Archives is still growing! Each year, our collecting specialists travel the country seeking the papers of artists, dealers, and collectors, and once new collections are acquired, professional archivists preserve the materials and create easy-to-use guides.

Through collecting, preserving, and providing access to our collections, the Archives inspires new ways of interpreting the visual arts in America and allows current and future generations to piece together the nation’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.