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Information for Researchers

Please contact the research librarian or image collections for more information.

Before you arrive

Search holdings in the library’s catalog,

Make an appointment with the appropriate department. Appointments are recommended for first-time visitors and required for those who would like materials retrieved in advance.

You will receive a confirmation email with details about your visit, how to request materials, and if needed, helpful guidance on your research. 


Visit the library’s reading room for access to our collection of books and periodicals on the history, theory, and criticism of art and architecture. 

Make an appointment to use the library.

Image Collections

Image Collections is a study and research center with over 16 million photographs, slides, negatives, microforms, and digital images of art and architecture.  Search the Image Collections catalog.

Make an appointment to use image collections.

When you arrive

The library is on the ground floor of the East Building.

Leave briefcases, bags, computer cases, large purses, your own books, packages, coats, umbrellas, food, and drinks at the museum’s coat check.

Have a government-issued ID and be prepared to sign in with the security officer. 

During your visit

We are a closed-stacks facility. Library staff will retrieve materials for you.

Items requested while you are on-site are normally delivered within 15 minutes.

Our collection does not circulate. All materials are used in the reading rooms. 

Use only pencils and exercise care in handling our collections.

Request up to ten bound volumes/books per day. 

As a courtesy, please silence cell phones and other electronic devices before entering the library.

Scanning & Photography

Books and main collection photographic material may be photographed without flash or scanned for personal use with a handheld device.  Rare photographs may not be photographed.

Self-service photocopiers and scanners are available at no charge.

Ask a librarian for help regarding high-resolution reproductions for non-personal use. 

Monday – Friday 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed Saturday, Sunday, and federal holidays.

(202) 842-6511