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The Arthur Ross Terrace will be closed this morning, Tuesday, October 21, for a private cultural observance. You many observe smoke and/or fire coming from the Terrace at that time. The FDNY has been notified in advance, and all safety precautions are in place. The Terrace will reopen at 1 pm.

Special Collections Research Tools

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to conduct research, please refer to our Access and Policies.

Library Catalog Inventories 

These inventories contain information gathered on surveys for each of the following collections and are the first step to creating records in our library catalog. The Library has received a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to review and update the information contained in these inventories. Since the end of 2013, all of the individual records are searchable in the Library's catalog.

Photo Print Collection Inventory (coming soon)

Institutional Archives, Manuscripts and Personal Papers

The Library Catalog can be searched to find most Departmental Records and Manuscript Collections. To conduct a search for a specific collection, select “Title” or “Author” from the drop-down menu. To search by topic, use the advanced search page. Limit the search by “Format” and "Location" by selecting “Manuscripts, typescripts” or "Mixed media" and "Special Collections". To browse the Departmental Records, select the "Local call number" search from the drop-down menu and type "DR", or for Manuscripts type "MSS".

Besides the Departmental Records inventory, there are no online tools for researching the Institutional Archives. Library staff have access to a local database for the Early Administrative Archives and a digitized card catalog for the Central Archives.

Photograph Collection

Individual images of photographs, rare book illustrations, art, and memorabilia held by the Library are being scanned and cataloged into the Digital Special Collections for online discovery. This online collection is a work in progress, new images and collections will be added as they become available. For a comprehensive search, researchers should also consult the photo file cards located in the Special Collections reading room.

To conduct a search for a specific print or slide collection in the Library Catalog, select “Title” or “Author” from the drop-down menu. To search by topic, use the advanced search page. Limit the search by “Format” and "Location" by selecting "Photos, paintings, drawings, prints" and "Special Collections".To browse all print or slide collections, select the "Local call number" search from the drop-down menu and type "PPC" or "PSC" respectively.

Moving Image Collection

The Library Catalog can be used to find moving images. To conduct a search for a specific film, select “Title” or “Author” (i.e. director) from the drop-down menu. To search by topic, use the advanced search page. Limit the search by “Format” and "Location" by selecting “Projected media (films, videos, slides)” and "Special Collections". To browse in the Catalog, select the "Local call number" search from the drop-down menu and type in "FILM COLLECTION". Similarly, Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival entries are browsable by typing in "MM".

To browse the 291 works in the Film Collection, please refer to our Film List

Art and Memorabilia

Many paintings, drawings, sculpture, and other media administered by the Library are found in the Library Catalog. Search for an artist under the "Author" search tool, or conduct an advanced keyword search and limit by Format "Photos, paintings, drawings, prints".

As images of these works become digitized and cataloged, they will be available for online viewing at Digital Special Collections.

Vertical Files

The files are located in the Special Collections reading room and are accessible without an appointment to Museum staff and to the public during public hours.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
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