The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives is a manuscript and photograph repository dedicated to furthering the study of Asian and Islamic art and culture. The Archives collects, preserves, and makes available documentary materials that support the holdings and research activities of the museum, and it enables scholars to analyze primary materials.

The Collections

The Archives houses more than 190 collections—amounting to over one thousand linear feet of materials—dating from the early nineteenth century to the present. Rich and diverse materials include the personal and professional papers of preeminent art historians, archaeologists, artists, dealers, and collectors, plus major collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century photography of Asia and the Islamic World. The collections also include still and moving pictures, graphics, audio tapes, and other forms of documentation.

Collection highlights: Manuscripts and Papers
Collection highlights: Photography and Graphics

Accessing the Collections

The Archives is open for research. Appointments are available upon request.

Prior to contacting the Archives, we encourage you to first review our finding aids and online records in the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives. Item level digitized collections and descriptions for collections without finding aids are located in the Smithsonian Collections Search Center. If you cannot find specific information through our online resources, or if you want to arrange an appointment, please contact us via our query form or email Archives staff at

Divider containing four black and white images: a sketched floorplan, a man at an easel, stone lamassu, and a bearded man wearing an ornamented hat.


We actively seek donations that support the collecting mission of the Archives. If you own items you believe would enhance our holdings, we welcome your inquiry. Because we are unable to accept all potential gifts, do not send your collection until after you have contacted us. Please e-mail a brief description of the material, including the size of the collection, the media (photographs, letters, films, etc.), and any relevant background information. We will respond at the earliest opportunity.

The Archives cannot provide appraisals. Prospective donors who require or desire a monetary assessment are encouraged to contact an independent appraiser or any one of a number of appraisal societies, such as the American Society of Appraisers (800.272.8258).