Conducting Research

Files, photographs, oral histories, and related materials in the Gallery Archives may be consulted on request. Some materials have been digitized and are available online; however, it is likely that a visit to the Gallery Archives Research Room will be required. Contact us for more information.

Consult an Archivist

For most researchers, the first step in conducting research in the Gallery Archives is to send an e-mail to reference staff (gallery-archives@nga.gov), providing as much information as possible about the subject and purpose of your research or the information you are seeking. Your name, address, any institutional affiliation, and telephone number must be included. Archives staff will contact you promptly to confirm whether sources are available in the Gallery Archives and to direct you to materials that may be of interest.

Finding Aids

Select finding aids, including file descriptions and special guides to records in the Gallery Archives, are available online. Oral histories are listed in a special section. All finding aids are available for consultation in the research room. 

Computer-based full-text subject access is available in the research room for all oral history transcripts and finding aids.

Use Policies

The Gallery Archives seeks to make research materials available for study as soon as possible and to the fullest extent possible. In some instances, however, files must be temporarily restricted to protect personal privacy or the interests of ongoing National Gallery business or must be closed because of donor restriction. Those materials that must be restricted temporarily will be reviewed from time to time and made available for research use as soon as the need for restriction has passed. 

Use of oral histories is governed by written legal agreements with interviewees, which in some cases limit access to portions of interview transcripts or tape recordings. Archival staff will provide up-to-date information on available interviews on request. 

Make an Appointment

Appointments are required to use records in the Gallery Archives Research Room. To make an appointment, send an e-mail to gallery-archives@nga.gov that explains the subject and purpose of your research. Your name, address, and telephone number must be included. You also may contact us using the online form or by telephone: 202-842-6615. Archival staff will respond promptly with information about materials relating to your interest and to confirm an appointment.

Prior to your arrival, research room staff will determine what materials you wish to consult to have them awaiting you on your arrival.

The archives research room is open to the public by appointment from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding federal holidays).

What to Know before You Visit

The Gallery Archives is located in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. At the time of your appointment, you should expect to meet Gallery Archives staff at the Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue lobby art information desk, unless other arrangements have been made.

Researchers will be required to leave coats and large bags in museum checkrooms before coming to the Gallery Archives Research Room. Please check for up-to-date information on museum facilities and security requirements. Information on travel to the museum also is available.

Government-issued identification may be required to enter the museum and use archival facilities.

What to Expect When You Arrive

Archives staff will escort you to the Gallery Archives Research Room, which is located in a nonpublic area of the museum. You will need to climb a flight of stairs to reach the research room. Please let archival staff know in advance if the stairs present any problem and we will be pleased to make alternate arrangements.

On arrival in the research room, you will be requested to complete a researcher registration form.

Research Room Rules

Regulations for use of the research room have been established to protect archival materials and to ensure the smooth functioning of the facility. A copy of the rules will be provided each researcher on arrival.

Archival Photographs

Many photographs have been digitized and may be studied in detail at a work station in the research room. Limited reference scans can be provided on request. If an image has been digitized, access to the original will be granted by special request only.

Document Copies

Researchers are encouraged to bring personal hand-held digital cameras to the Gallery Archives Research Room to use in creating reference copies of archival materials. Paper targets identifying the source of the documents will be provided and must be included in every frame.

The use of flash or supplemental lighting is not permitted; however, experience has shown that most digital cameras create excellent copies using ambient lighting in the research room.

If a researcher is not able to make personal digital copies, photocopies of a reasonable number of documents may be requested. To protect originals, photocopies must be made by Gallery Archives staff. Copies will be mailed to the requestor or may be picked up later. 

All copying is subject to the determination that it will not harm the materials.

Copies of archival materials may be used for personal research purposes only and may not be reproduced without further permission.

Need Help?

Archival staff are available to provide information concerning records and information in the Gallery Archives as well as guidance concerning the use of these historical materials. Researchers are encouraged to contact archival staff directly at gallery-archives@nga.gov or telephone 202-842-6615 for further guidance. Archivists are regularly available for consultation during research room hours.

Contact Us

Gallery Archives
Telephone: 202-842-6615
Fax: 202-842-6948
E-Mail: gallery-archives@nga.gov

Mailing Address
Gallery Archives
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785

Research Room Location
National Gallery of Art West Building
Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20565