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The archives of the Cincinnati Art Museum are an exceptional resource for the study of art history, provenance, social history, and even genealogy, available to Museum staff and to external researchers, authors, educators and students.
The archives consists of three major collections:
Please note, all requests for access to records in the Archives’ collection, or to information in those records, are considered on a case by case basis. For more details, see the section below on Access Restrictions.
Access to the Archives’ collections is by appointment only. Please contact us at least 48 hours before your planned visit, but it is recommended that you provide as much notice as possible to ensure you can be accommodated.
Records from the Archives are made available in the Museum’s Mary R. Schiff Library reading room. Regular opening hours are Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
When visiting the Archives for the first time, you will be asked to show a picture ID and complete an Archival Researcher Agreement.
Whilst the Archives aims to provide access to the records in its care to the fullest extent possible, requests for access may be refused or limited due to:
There are also certain categories of record that are not made available to external researchers:
In certain cases, staff may be able to extract information from otherwise restricted records on your behalf, or to provide access to a redacted version of a record or file.
Where the physical condition of a record makes it unusable, you may be asked to use a copy in place of the original, or staff may be able to extract information on your behalf.
For more information on access issues, please see the Archives’ Access Policy.
If visiting the Archives in person, you may not copy or photograph records without first consulting a member of staff.
Permission to copy material will be granted on a case by case basis, and may be refused if it could result in damage to the records, or if donor, acquisition or legal restrictions prohibit duplication.
When permitted, the copying of records is restricted to the use of a personal camera without the use of a flash. No other self-service copying or reproduction is allowed.
If you are unable to visit in person, copies of archival records can be requested from the Archives. Copies can be provided electronically, mailed, or made available for collection in person. Copy requests are normally completed within 10 working days, but extensive requests will be fulfilled as staff availability and workload permits. The Archives reserves the right to charge a fee to undertake copy requests; we will notify you if this is the case before making any copies.
Copies of records from the Archives may be used only for private study, scholarship, or research. If you wish to quote from or publish in full any record from the Archives you must obtain written permission prior to publication. If the Museum does not hold copyright for the material, it cannot grant permission to publish, and you must therefore secure permission yourself from the copyright holder.
For additional information or to book an appointment:
Phone: (513) 639-2978*
Mary R. Schiff Library and Archives
Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202
*Please note, we are unable to answer research inquiries by telephone, which should be sent in writing.
When submitting a research inquiry, please be sure to include:
Inquiries are typically answered within 5 business days.
If an inquiry requires significant research, involving the collection, assembly or extraction of information, you will be encouraged to make an appointment to visit in person. If this is not possible, research will be carried out as staff availability and workload permits. The Archives reserves the right to charge a fee to undertake such requests; we will notify you if this is the case before undertaking any research.
Are you an artist from the Greater Cincinnati area? Do you have friends or relatives who are, or were?
Are you part of a local art group or organization?
If so, you might be interested to know that the Cincinnati Art Museum Archives accepts donations of papers and records relating to local artists and art organizations. In our collection we have original materials from Rookwood Pottery, Cincinnati Art Club, Frank Duveneck, Elizabeth Nourse, Paul Ashbrook, and others.
As well as documents reflecting the city’s illustrious art heritage, we also want to ensure our collection represents Cincinnati’s current artistic landscape, so we welcome materials from or about contemporary local artists.
So, if you have documents, photographs, scrapbooks, or other records you think should be preserved and made available to future generations of art historians, please contact the Archives.