Thomas J. Watson Library, the Museum's central library, is the heart of research and scholarly activity at the Museum. Its collection, together with the distinctive collections of the Museum's departmental libraries, comprises one of the preeminent libraries for research in the history of art.
Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Last spring I received an academic scholarship to complete a one-year internship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Thomas J. Watson Library. The internship was designed as a guided, hands-on learning experience for students of library science interested in a career in art librarianship. Since I am currently finishing up a two-year master's program in Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute and am especially interested in art libraries and visual resources, interning at Watson Library has been ideal.
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Every six weeks or so, Watson Library puts out a new vitrine display that highlights some of the strikingly beautiful works from our special collections. In this post we'll take you behind the scenes to see the planning of these vitrine installations—from the early stages of identifying materials and a theme, to the final stages of constructing book supports, securing the objects, and drafting the labels.
Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Topography books are often consulted for their illustrations which record landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, gardens, and infrastructure, as well as examples of culture and customs from around the world. Since they are a valuable documentary tool for researchers and curators, these illustrations commonly appear in scholarly articles and exhibitions. For the first six months of 2014, an exquisite collection of 204 early modern topography books with Dutch origins underwent conservation here at the Met. These books, originally published in several countries between 1575 and 1825, are now held in the collection of the Museum's Department of Drawings and Prints. Femke Speelberg, an assistant curator in the department, served as project leader and selected the titles for conservation.
Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
A couple weeks ago, a number of Watson librarians descended on Fort Worth for the 2015 Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) Conference. We were there to share ideas and innovations from the previous year, as well as visit some of Fort Worth's fantastic art museums. Wining and dining is, of course, part of any good conference, and Watson attendees took part in their fair share of Fort Worth's food and drink. Presented here are a few highlights from the trip.
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The Cooper Hewitt reopened in December to much fanfare, after an ambitious three-year gut renovation. The Atlantic described it as "the museum of the future," and singled out its new interactive pen as a "godsend." Several Watson librarians recently ventured up Fifth Avenue to see what the future looks like and to try out these new pens. Among our contingent was Tina Lidogoster, who used her pen to design a futuristic Watson Library "lamp," seen above. After our visit, she was able to access her design online, which she then shared with me so I could post it on our new Instagram account.
Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Watson Library has digitized its collection of eighteenth-century French auction catalogs, which are among the oldest sales catalogs owned by the library. Published mainly in the 1770s and 1780s, these catalogs provide us with a view of the world of art auctions in the decades leading up to the French Revolution. An invaluable source for provenance research, this historical collection also illuminates how artworks were described in an age where auction catalogs were generally devoid of illustrations.
Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2015
In our technology-saturated world, photographs are everywhere. Images are so easy to capture and share with friends and family around the world that most of us take them for granted. But in the mid-nineteenth century, when photography was still a relatively new medium, documentary photographers like Charles Thurston Thompson (1816–1868), were able to use new photographic technology to bring images from all over the world back home with them.
Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The Cloisters Library and Archives is pleased to announce that it has completed processing the papers of one of the Museum's founding figures, curator William H. Forsyth (1907–2003). The finding aid can be found on the Digital Collections site.
Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2015
"Yes, but does the book have pictures?" is a question you might remember having asked as a child. If that is the case, then you will be intrigued by Watson Library's recent acquisition of Les Artistes du Livre, a twenty-four-volume set of folios highlighting the work of French illustrators from 1928 to 1933. Both the illustrations and the range of texts on which they are based, spanning from the innocuous to the irreverent, are guaranteed to captivate the reader of this series. Encompassing novels, children's literature, poems, works of nonfiction, and other forms of writing, the change of tone from one illustration to the next is sometimes quite unexpected. Both posts in this series will include descriptions of selected folios which I hope will give you a taste of the breadth and uniqueness of this collection.