The Worcester Art Museum Library
Enjoy behind-the-scenes programs and special speakers.
Hours & Information
Admission to the library is free of charge
The Museum Library Hours
Phone: 508.799.4406, x3070
The Worcester Art Museum Library, founded in 1909, is a bibliographic resource dedicated to the history of art reflecting the collection strengths of the Museum. The Library is managed in association with the College of the Holy Cross, a collaboration that began in 2001.
The Library is located on the second floor of the Museum. The reading room is the original Sculpture Gallery in the Museum's 1898 building and houses frequently used monographs and art publications.
Using the Library
The Library serves the staff of the Museum, and also extends its resources and services to the community, including teachers, students, faculty, collectors, museum docents, scholars, and the general public. For Worcester area college students the Museum is a stop on the Consortium's shuttle service.
- If you wish to use a book from our Rare Book Collection please contact a librarian to make an appointment
- Belongings may be checked at any of the Museum entrances
- Backpacks are not allowed
- Food and drink are not permitted
- Free WiFi
A photocopier is available ($.15 per page black and white, $.50 per page color) and a printer is attached to our public access computer terminals.
The Library's online catalog provides access to most of the holdings of the Worcester Art Museum Library and the libraries of the College of the Holy Cross, as well as a database of 1700 images from the Museum's permanent collection.
Special access to online research tools including:
Art and Research Libaries
Worcester Area Libraries
The library provides on-line access to over 260 early Worcester Art Museum exhibition catalogs. The digitization of the catalogs was provided by the Digital Commonwealth and Boston Public Library and funded by an LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant. The digitized exhibition catalogs are available on the Internet Archive.
The Library's bibliographic collection encompasses all periods and media of art, with an emphasis on European, American, and Asian art. The collection includes:
- 50,000 books
- Online databases (such as ARTstor and Oxford Art)
- Auction catalogs dating back to 1887
- Artist files
- 45,000 circulating slides
- Special materials on the Museum's permanent collection
- Current subscriptions to 25 art periodicals, and archived holdings of over 200 art periodicals
The collection is non-circulating.
The Library welcomes both monetary donations and books that could be included in the Library's holdings. The Library accepts books that are in good condition and art related. You may also help the Library by donating a book from our wish list.
Download the Library Brochure for more information on the library.
Friends of the Library
The Friends of the Library group was started in 2002 to support and enhance the Library's activities and collections. Its purposes are: to provide and attract new financial support to enrich the basic collections and activities of the Library; to provide and attract special collections, rare books, and manuscripts; to sponsor special projects or programs; to provide a thorough understanding of the Library and its role in the Museum's future; and to serve as a medium through which persons may advance their own intellectual pursuits and share their enthusiasm for books and art.
The group meets four times a year and enjoys behind-the-scenes programs and special speakers. The group sponsors the triennial art book sale which is the Library's major fund raiser.
New Friends of the Library members are always welcome! If interested, please email email@example.com or click the links below.
WAM Friends of the Library Schedule 2014-2015
Business meetings start at noon with a brown bag lunch followed by our speakers.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, - Introduction of Nora Maroulis, WAM’s new Director of Philanthropy. Nora will update us on plans for the future of WAM’s library. Speaker will be Dr. James A. Welu on, Stephen Salisbury’s Grand Tour.
“The only heir of one of Massachusetts’ leading colonial merchants, Stephen Salisbury II (1798- 1884) first visited Europe in his early thirties, a trip that lasted two years. During his travels intended for “information and pleasure”, Salisbury made purchases in a number of different countries. Each of these acquisitions reflects the interests of a family that would play a major role in developing the cultural and educational life of Worcester. “
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - Devon Gray, Department Director of Skinner Auction House’s Division of Fine Books and Manuscripts, will speak on the important role specialized libraries play in our society and the continued importance of printed books.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - Nancy Burns, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at WAM will speak about WAM’s recent acquisition of a Picasso print and it’s important place in the development of Cubism.
Tuesday, March 20, 2015 - Michael Blanding will speak about his latest book, The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps. Blanding tells the story of E. Forbes Smiley, an esteemed and respectable antiquarian map dealer, who spent years doubling as a map thief delicately tearing maps out of books in the Yale University Library until he was arrested. He would confess to the theft of 97 maps valued at over $3M and serve 42 months in prison. “ Blanding expertly reports a tale of personal destruction and redemption played against the dog-eat-dog world of a secretive subculture”.