Learn more about the Archives and explore our scholarly and educational initiatives.

About Our Collections

Browse over fifty years of publications on American art including books, regional research guides, and the Archives of American Art Journal.

From 2012-2019, the Archives administered a graduate research essay prize funded by the Dedalus Foundation. The prize recognized original research by a graduate student that engaged deeply with the collections of the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art.

Stay connected with the Archives of American Art through our news, updates, and the Archives of American Art blog.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the Archives and explore the projects and people that are working to preserve the history of the visual arts in America.

About the Archives


​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.

Founded in Detroit in 1954 by Edgar P. Richardson, then Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Lawrence A. Fleischman, a Detroit executive and active young collector, the initial goal of the Archives was to serve as microfilm repository; this mission expanded quickly to collecting and preserving original material and in 1970, the Archives joined the Smithsonian Institution, sharing its mandate: the increase and diffusion of knowledge.