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Harvard Art Museums Archives & Special Collections

The official archives of the Harvard Art Museums: the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum.

Added Names/Aliases: Archives, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum Archives, Art Museum Archives, Harvard University Art Museums, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies
 
 
 
 

HOURS OF OPERATION

 
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Archives Hours
 
 

CONTACT INFORMATION

 
Contact by Phone
Reference:
(617) 495-2384
To schedule an appointment (required):
(617) 495-2384
Contact by Email / Web
am_reference@harvard.edu
To schedule an appointment (required):
am_reference@harvard.edu
Website
 
Official Website
Baloon
Harvard Art Museums Archives, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Map
 
 

ABOUT

 

The Harvard Art Museums Archives is the official repository for institutional records and historical documents in all formats relating to the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Its mission is to manage and preserve these materials, and make them accessible to staff, students, faculty, and the public in accordance with the policies of the Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College. The Archives serves as a center for research at the museums, charged with documenting and promoting knowledge and appreciation of the institution’s history, programs, and goals, and the professional and personal accomplishments of its principals. 

The Harvard Art Museums Archives is the official repository for institutional records and historical documents in all formats relating to the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Its mission is to manage and preserve these materials, and make them accessible to staff, students, faculty, and the public in accordance with the policies of the Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College. The Archives serves as a center for research at the museums, charged with documenting and promoting knowledge and appreciation of the institution’s history, programs, and goals, and the professional and personal accomplishments of its principals. 

 

Collections

 

Archives

The Harvard Art Museums Archives collections include papers of individuals and groups associated with the museums’ history, notably former museum directors Edward Waldo Forbes, Paul J. Sachs, John Coolidge, and Agnes Mongan. The Archives holds material on the history of the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, including records of past exhibitions, building plans, photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia. Correspondence with collectors, gallery owners, museum professionals, and notables throughout the twentieth century, including Alfred Barr, Bernard Berenson, Belle da Costa Greene, Lincoln Kirstein, Helen Frick, and Abby and John D. Rockefeller is also included. The Archives houses papers of artists Alfonso Ossorio, David Smith, and Denman W. Ross, among others, as well as teaching materials documenting the pedagogical approaches of the museums’ teaching staff. Published materials include Fogg annual reports, exhibition catalogues, and curatorial publications relating to Museums' collections.

Busch-Reisinger Museum

Collection includes Bauhaus materials; visual materials by/from Walter Gropius and of Lyonel Feininger; papers of Alexander Dorner. The Bauhaus materials are comprised of student notes and exercises, textile and wallpaper samples, photographs, books, and Bauhaus publications from 1919-33; also student exercises from other art schools founded on the Bauhaus model. The Walter Gropius Archive contains architectural drawings, blueprints, and photographs of German and American projects, 1910-56. The Lyonel Feininger Archive includes 5,000 cataloged items: sketches, some correspondence, unfinished oil paintings, and photographs. The Alexander Dorner Papers consist of 18 boxes of correspondence, book and article typescripts, as well as newspaper and magazine clippings on a wide variety of cultural, social, and scientific topics.

Department of Photographs

Founded in 1972, the Fogg’s photograph collection is comprised of an anthology collection representing the history of fine art photography as well as the aesthetic use of photography largely in the United States and Western Europe from 1839 to the present, with special emphasis on modern and contemporary photography. It also holds six research collections that focus on American documentary, social reform, vernacular, and professional photography: Ben Shahn; Cartes-de-visite and cabinet cards; Tintypes; American Professional Photographers Collection; Social Museum Collection; and the Boston Elevated Railway Collection.

Harvard Portrait Collection

The Portrait Collection consists primarily of portraits of people associated with Harvard University: presidents, deans, administrators, faculty, benefactors and illustrious alumni. From this small group the collection has grown, through gifts as well as commissions, to include more than 2,000 paintings and sculptures. The collection has particular strengths in American colonial painting, and nineteenth century American sculpture. Documentation for the University's portrait collection: curatorial files for over 2,000 paintings, sculpture and drawings; accession books. Files includes photographs, acquisition information, notes and references from Corporation records related to specific portraits, original correspondence (primarily concerning commissions or gifts; letters from artists, donors), bibliography, exhibition history and conservation history.

Archaeological Exploration of Sardis

The Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, sponsored by the Harvard Art Museums and Cornell University, has been excavating at Sardis since 1958. The site has yielded artifacts from the Lydian, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and other cultures. During the past 50 years more than 14,000 objects have been inventoried and many thousands more have been saved for future study.

Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies

The Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies provides analysis and treatments for the Harvard Art Museums’ more than 250,000 objects in all media, ranging in date from antiquity to the present, from Europe, North and South America, North Africa, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.

 
 

LIBRARY SERVICES

 
  • Photographic Reproduction
  • Photocopying by staff only.

 
 

VISITOR POLICIES

 
  • Access
  • Open to all, by appointment only.  Researchers must contact the Archives as far in advance of a visit as possible; a minimum of three weeks is requested, and appropriate identification is required. To request an appointment, please contact the Archives at am_reference@harvard.edu or 617-495-2384.