Visiting the Archives

The Archives’ holdings are available to museum staff, scholars, and the general public. Most collections are open to researchers, although access to some material may be restricted.

Access to the Archives is by appointment only. Before visiting, researchers must email the Archives at to arrange an appointment.

Upon arrival, all researchers are asked to present photo identification, such as a driver’s license or a student ID. Researchers are required to review the Archives’ rules governing access and use and then to agree to abide by them by completing and signing a registration form.

Smoking, eating, and drinking are not permitted in the research area, nor are coats, briefcases, and similar materials allowed. The Archives provides researchers with storage for personal items. Laptop computers, cameras, and other recording equipment are only permitted in the research area if they do not disrupt other researchers.

Photography and Duplication

Researchers are permitted, with the archivist’s approval and supervision, to photograph or duplicate documents that not likely to be damaged by the process. Researchers are encouraged to photograph materials they would like to duplicate. A photocopier is available in the reading room.

Staff will provide up to twenty digital images for researchers who are unable to visit the Archives. For larger requests, the researcher (or a proxy) must visit the Archives to photograph the desired documents.
Researchers may bring a camera into the Archives to photograph items. The flash must be turned off. Staff will provide a transparency stating the Archives’ ownership of the item, which must be placed over the item to be photographed.

Reference Services

E-Mail Reference

The Archives accepts brief reference queries via our query form or via email at Please consult our online finding aids prior to sending an email and state your request as clearly and specifically as possible. Include names, locations, and dates relevant to your research.

Please note that the Archives does not house any items from the museums’ permanent art collections. All inquiries regarding art objects should be directed to

Citation and Copyright Rules

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The Archives often does not own rights to the material in its collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions (such as donor restrictions, privacy rights, licensing, and trademarks) when publishing or otherwise distributing the materials. The web site of the United States Copyright Office at the Library of Congress contains valuable and extensive information regarding United States Copyright Law.


Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s Rights and Reproductions Department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process. In order to facilitate your order, please have the following information:

  • collection name, box number, and folder number or name
  • title or description of item
  • photographer and image number, if applicable


All image citations must include information in the following format.

Collection name, Collection number
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Donor(s) or source(s) of collection, year(s) of acquisition (when applicable)
Photographer and image number (when applicable)

Here is an example of the correct format and content for an image citation to a collection in the Archives.

Myron Bement Smith Collection, FSA.A.04
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Gift of Katharine Dennis Smith, 1973–85
Photographer: Antoin Sevruguin, image number 2.07

All text citations must include the following information.

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Collection name, Collection number, Box number, Folder number or name,
Item title, and Date

This is an example of the correct format and content for a text citation to a collection in the Archives.

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Myron Bement Smith Collection, FSA.A.04, Box 4, Folder 11
Myron Bement Smith Letter to the Principal, University of London, 10 September 1945