The Museum's libraries contain books, periodicals, photographs, manuscripts, and other scholarly resources in printed and electronic formats. The Museum also maintains several specialized study centers with images, documentation, and actual objects on display or on reserve for examination by researchers.
Thomas J. Watson Library is the central research library of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Its collection of books and periodicals relating to the history of art is one of the most comprehensive in the world.
Nolen Library is open to all Museum visitors and welcomes readers of all ages to consult a wide range of materials about the Museum's collection, exhibitions, and the history of art.
The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art makes available for inspection those American fine art and decorative art objects that are not currently on view in the Museum galleries and period rooms or that are on loan to other institutions.
The Cloisters Library collects research material for the study of medieval art and related topics. The collection of approximately 15,000 volumes encompasses medieval architecture, painting, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, sculpture, and decorative arts. Works on medieval history and gardens are also collected.
The collection of the Department of Drawings and Prints includes more than 1.2 million prints, 16,000 drawings, and 12,000 illustrated books, as well as an extensive collection of printed ephemera. Most works on paper not on view may be examined by qualified visitors in the study rooms. Also available is a reference library of books on the history of prints and drawings.
The Costume Institute's Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library collection contains 25,000 books and periodicals as well as over 1,500 designer files all pertaining to the history of fashion, haute couture, regional clothing, and costume from around the world, dated from the sixteenth century to today.
The Robert Goldwater Library is dedicated to the documentation of the arts of Africa, the Pacific Islands, and native and Precolumbian America. The library contains more than thirty thousand volumes and 150 current periodical subscriptions.
The library of the Robert Lehman Collection contains approximately twenty-three thousand books, with an emphasis on the arts of the Italian Renaissance; the history and culture of Siena, Italy; the history of frames; and illuminated manuscripts.
The Joyce F. Menschel Library contains more than ten thousand volumes relating to the history of photography and to the Museum's collection of photographs.
The Museum's collection contains approximately forty thousand photographs spanning the entire history of the medium, including five hundred photographically illustrated books and albums.
The Greek and Roman Department's library, the Onassis Library for Hellenic and Roman Art, endowed by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, houses a significant collection of publications and research materials available to scholars by appointment.
The Antonio Ratti Textile Center is one of the largest, most technically advanced facilities for the study, storage, and conservation of textiles in any major art museum. Its reference library contains approximately thirty-four hundred books and journals devoted to the historical, technical, and cultural study of textiles.
Archives holdings include Board of Trustees records, legal documents, Museum publications, office files of selected Museum staff, architectural drawings, press clippings, and ephemera.