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About this collection

Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications from the collections of The Metropolitan Museum Libraries and Metropolitan Museum Archives. All known publications from 1869-1989, along with a selection of later titles, are part of this collection. Additionally, thanks to the Museum's Digital Media and Editorial Departments, all full-text titles from the MetPublications project--over 400 publications from 1964 to the present--also are included here.

Click here to browse all items in the Metropolitan Museum Publications collection.

Use the following links to browse selected subsets of the Metropolitan Museum Publications collection:


For additional content, visit also the MetPublications section of the website, which includes 1,500 books, online publications, Bulletins and Journals published from 1964 to the present. MetPublications includes a description and table of contents for almost every title, as well as information about the authors, reviews, awards, and links to related Met bibliographies by author, theme, or keyword.


Read more about the Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications collection in these Highlights posts.


At right: the six items most recently added to the collection. Please return frequently for new additions.



The American Industrial Arts Exhibitions, 1917-1940 subcollection is a set of pamphlets accompanying a landmark series of American industrial arts exhibitions held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art during this period. Organized by Richard F. Bach (1887–1968), the exhibitions featured the work of contemporary American industrial designers and manufacturers. Bach’s role at the museum as head of the Department of Industrial Relations was promoting good taste and forging ties between art and industry for the economic benefit of the United States. Through his actions, The Metropolitan Museum of Art led the way in encouraging good design and by extension, promoting modern, American decorative art in the early twentieth century. In addition to the pamphlets, there are related circulars sent to potential exhibitors, as well as other publications by Bach and his contemporaries.



From November 24, 1948 - January 2, 1949, The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited 200 fabrics produced by American textile mills in 1948. This exhibition, American Textiles, '48, highlighted the postwar strength of the American textile industry, as well as the increasingly common use of then-revolutionary, manmade fibers including rayon and nylon. The Museum did not publish a catalog to accompany the exhibition. Each entry card consists of a printed sheet completed by the submitting textile firm with a fabric sample attached; the reverse of each card lists printed entry submission guidelines. Entries in volumes 1-4 were exhibited; entries in volumes 5-12 were not featured in the exhibition.




The Annual Reports, 1872 to 1901 (unabridged versions) collection has material from the museum’s second year in operation (when it was still located at its first home on 681 Fifth Avenue) to the early nineteenth century. The reports document museum progress and activities including visitor attendance records, building expansion updates, recent acquisitions, loans, exhibitions and installations. They also include financial statements, officers of the museum, annual member lists,an update on museum publications and educational classes, as well as lectures being offered each year.



Catalogs of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments

In the early part of the twentieth century, Mrs. John Crosby Brown donated an extensive collection of musical instruments to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, laying the foundation for the formation of the Department of Musical Instruments several decades later. This comprehensive set of catalogues documents the early years of this important collection as it grew and evolved.


The Charters, constitutions and bylaws collection contains thirty documents spread over one hundred years, from 1869 (a one-page draft of the Museum’s initial Constitution, annotated “This is the draft submitted to Prov[isional] Com[mittee], Jan. 4, 1870”) to 1969 (27 pages gathering the original State Charter with Constitution and Bylaws reflecting major revisions in 1967). It is not a complete set of revisions, and yet it offers insights into the Museum’s organizational development.

Most are printed documents, but two unique items are a bound copy of the April 13, 1870 Act of Incorporation that officially created the Museum, with appended signatures of the Museum’s Incorporators (including artists like Frederic Church and John F. Kensett and future architects of the Museum Calvert Vaux and Richard Morris Hunt, along with collectors like Henry Marquand and Samuel P. Avery), and a handwritten copy of that Act bearing an authenticating seal from the New York Secretary of State and associated with four handwritten letters tracing the bill’s progress through the State Senate and Assembly.


This Collection Catalogs, 1870-1963 collection includes the catalogs of the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art from its very beginnings in 1870 through 1949, with a selection of later titles. The collection is being added to and will ultimately include collection catalogs through 1964. Some of the early catalogs include the Vanderbilt collection of drawings (1881), the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe collection of pictures by modern masters (1889), the Morgan collection of Chinese porcelains (1907), and the Cloisters collection of medieval tapestries (1949) which includes a description of the new room at the Cloisters for the display of the famous Unicorn Tapestries.


The Educational Programs and Listings collection contains Metropolitan Museum of Art publications published from 1880 to the present that are focused on educating the public. It includes lectures, family guides and maps, posters, “kids’ picks,” art and museum hunts, Spanish and Chinese language material, and other engaging educational publications. Most of these items are colorfully illustrated.



The Exhibition Catalogs, 1870-1963 collection includes the catalogs of exhibitions that were held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from its very beginnings in 1870 through 1949, with a selection of later titles. The collection is being added to and will ultimately include exhibition catalogs through 1963. Some of the early catalogs are of exhibitions that were held in the Museum’s first building located at 128 West 14th Street, such as the Catalogue of the loan exhibition of paintings and statuary (1874). Other titles in this collection include the Collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings by old masters (1886); the Loan exhibition of the arts of the Italian Renaissance (1923), which includes reproductions of the objects on view, such as Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of Giuliano de' Medici and Luca della Robbia’s The Madonna of the Niche, and whose list of lenders includes William Randolph Hearst, J. Pierpont Morgan, and George and Florence Blumenthal; and the illustrated Japanese costume: an exhibition of nō robes and Buddhist vestments (1935). An 1885 exhibition catalog with possibly one of the longest titles - Catalogue of paintings, by G.F. Watts, R.A., of London, on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: with some account of the methods and aims of the artist, and a description of the intentions in the pictures – can also be found in this collection.


The 130 items in the collection of Family Guides and Art Hunts represent over thirty years of Museum educators’ efforts to encourage children of all ages to “look at the [artworks] closely, analyze what you see, and to become curious about the meaning and functions” of art objects (from Masks of Africa from the Permanent Collection, 1994). Some are brief brochures focused on special exhibitions, like this single fold one for a 1999 exhibition of Gustave Moreau. A few are substantial booklets with bibliographies, aimed more at teachers and parents than directly at children; many more are simpler but still thoughtful. They use elements of play, like scavenger hunts, crossword puzzles, drawing tasks, and lots and lots of questions, to encourage close looking and imaginative identification. The wide-ranging themes include: tea sets, Ottoman calligraphy, animals of many kinds, windows and views, food, and children’s play. Most are in English, but Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean publications have also been created upon occasion. Even though exhibitions closed years ago, and gallery arrangements are quite different from what they were in previous decades, many elements of these guides and hunts could be useful in themselves or as serve as inspiration today.


The Management and Policy Documents collection consists of publications related to the administration, finances, and operations of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, published between 1870 and 1966. Includes minutes from meetings of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee, and subscription lists of individual donors who contributed to the fund for the construction of the Museum.



The Metropolitan Museum of Art Children's Bulletin was a quarterly publication issued by the Museum from 1916 through 1935. The first two volumes, or 13 installments, of The Children’s Bulletin were published as supplements to the Museum’s quarterly Bulletin; the subsequent 40 installments of The Children’s Bulletin were published as a separate quarterly. Each Children’s Bulletin features a short story that engages young children with the themes and history of works of art selected from The Museum’s collection. Read more about The Children's Bulletin collection in this Highlights post.


Publications of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Expedition

In 1906, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Board of Trustees voted to establish an Egyptian Expedition to conduct archaeological excavations at several sites along the Nile. The publications resulting from those excavations, which continue today, are featured in this comprehensive digital collection.

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