If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to conduct research, please refer to our Access and Policies page.
The Archives consist mainly of correspondence, memos, reports, press releases, and other records associated with the administration of the Museum (known as the Institutional Archives). The Archives also includes manuscripts and personal papers of scientists and administrators associated with the Museum, as well as materials associated with a few notable individuals without formal Museum affiliation.
The Photograph Collection consists of over one million black-and-white prints and negatives, color transparencies and slides. This includes a collection of over 40,000 lantern slides that were once used for lectures and loaned to New York City schools. In addition, the photographic print collection includes over 900 collections of vintage photographic prints, totaling approximately 140,000 individual photographs.
Spanning a century of scientific history, the Moving Image Collection documents the Museum’s involvement in scientific exploration, discovery, and public education over a period of significant change in the world. There are a total of 291 titles in the Archival Film Collection with thousands of additional films and videotapes, including viewing copies of select entries to the the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival.
The majority of the Museum’s fine art collection is administered by the Library. The Memorabilia Collection preserves many objects that help tell the story of the Museum’s history, including ephemeral components of exhibition, scientific and documentary equipment, as well as collections of personal artifacts, including those of Lincoln Ellsworth and Carl Akeley.
The Library's Vertical Files include: biographical files, and files on temporary and permanent exhibits, Museum departments, Museum expeditions and special events. The files are composed of clippings, press releases, correspondence and other assorted ephemera.