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During an appointment in the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives, visitors can view materials in the Reading Room. (Photo: Sam Prasopthum)

Students and Scholars’ Guide to the Brooklyn Museum: Libraries and Archives

Here’s how to explore our extensive resources covering the history of art and of the Brooklyn Museum.

Welcome, researchers!

On the second floor of the Brooklyn Museum, students, scholars, and book lovers will find a treasure trove of materials spanning art history. The Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives hold a diverse collection of resources, from fashion sketches to artists’ books, glass plate negatives, ephemera, and records from the Museum’s two centuries of existence. Anyone is welcome to request time with these materials for research purposes, whether you’re working on an academic project or simply curious about an element of our collection. 

Visitors can access the Libraries and Archives by making an appointment. We are open for appointments Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1–4 pm, and are closed to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Read on to learn how to get started on your research journey. 

Using the Libraries

The Brooklyn Museum Libraries have several collections. The Art Reference Library spans from antiquity to contemporary times and supports research of the Museum’s global collection of artworks. Special Collections contains rare books and manuscripts, artists’ books, early to mid-20th-century fashion sketches, and much more. 

Anyone can make an appointment to visit the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives, which hold research materials from across the scope of art history. (Photo: Jonathan Dorado)

The Wilbour Library of Egyptology is one of the most comprehensive and important research libraries for the study of ancient Egypt. In addition to all aspects of ancient Egypt, the Wilbour Library covers the art of the ancient Near East and the Classical World. The library is named after Charles Edwin Wilbour, one of the first American Egyptologists. His collection, donated in 1916, formed the foundation of the Wilbour Library, which has grown into a world-renowned resource.

If you do not have a Brooklyn Museum Libraries account, do the following at least 10 days before your visit: 

  1. Fill out a registration form to create your account; then, fill out an appointment request form. A staff member will reach out with login details and to schedule an appointment.  

If you already have a library account, do the following at least seven days before your visit:

  1. Fill out an appointment request form. A staff member will reach out to you. 
  2. Use the online catalogue to request any items you’re interested in viewing (up to 10 items per appointment). Review a guide to the catalogue. (If you have a research topic in mind but need help selecting materials, email and the team can help you get started.)

Using the Archives

Like the Libraries, the Brooklyn Museum Archives are open by appointment Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1–4 pm. There, you’ll find more than 50 collections that tell the story of the Museum, from letters and photographs to exhibition ephemera and newspaper clippings.

Beforehand, you can search or browse the finding aids to see what the Archives contain.

To set up an appointment, email our archivist at It is helpful to have specific research needs in mind, such as a subject, exhibition, person, or collection you are interested in learning more about, so that our archivist can assist you.

On the day of your visit 

When you arrive, use the Museum’s main entrance. After passing security, you will see Coat Check, where you can stow your personal belongings. We do not allow bags, coats, pens, food, or drinks in the Reading Room. You may bring tools for research, including pencils, paper, laptops, handheld cameras, and cell phones.  

Then, proceed to the second floor. We ask that you wash your hands before coming to the Libraries and Archives, and you may be asked to wash your hands while handling archival materials and special collections. Staff may also provide instructions and tools for handling fragile materials. Thanks for helping us preserve these resources for future generations!

Online resources 

In addition to our Libraries online catalogue and Archives search—which are mainly useful for researchers planning an in-person visit—the Museum has digitized several collections as well as materials from a few landmark exhibitions.

A selection of digitized materials includes information about the Brooklyn Museum Art School, the Brooklyn Museum’s building, and its collection of lantern slides, among other holdings. Search our online exhibition archives for information and materials related to specific Museum exhibitions.

For more information 

You can always reach out to our team with any questions. Email the Libraries at and the Archives at We look forward to helping you find answers to your questions!


Corinne Segal is the Senior Digital Producer at the Brooklyn Museum. Abigail Dansiger is Director of the Libraries and Archives, working with Alejandra Perez (Systems and Metadata Librarian), Stephanie Crawford (Archivist and Records Manager), Kate Rowland (former Archives and Digital Collections Intern), Charlotte Calmer (Libraries and Archives Assistant), and Brianna Casas (Archives Fellow).