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
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.
- 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.
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:
- 53,000 books
- Online databases (such as ARTstor and Oxford Art)
- Auction catalogs dating back to 1887
- Artist files
- 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 2015-2016
Business meetings start at noon with a brown bag lunch followed by our speakers.
September 15, 2015 - Nominations for Secretary/Treasurer - Guests will be Gareth Salway, Chief Registrar, and Jon Seydl, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art.
November, 17, 2015 - Annual Meeting and Voting for New Secretary/Treasurer - Guest will be Jim Welu - Pre-Columbian Art: The Worcester Connection
This illustrated lecture reveals the little-known story of Worcester's seminal role in the discovery and recognition of Pre-Columbian art. Worcester's interest in Pre-Columbian art dates back to the middle of the 19th-century when long before he founded the Worcester Art Museum, Stephen Salisbury III took a keen interest in Mesoamerican cultures. Salisbury's sponsorship of some of the earliest archeologists to explore New World cultures, including Worcester's own Edward Thompson, paved the way for the collecting of Pre-Columbian art by many of Worcester's captains of industry. Learn the fascinating stories of how this collecting resulted in the Worcester Art Museum's outstanding holdings of Pre-Columbian art. (Coincides with Jeppson Idea Lab: Olmec Incised Standing Figure opening Nov. 14)
January 19, 2016 - Professor Dr. Liana De Girolami Cheney, Professor Emeritus of Art History at U. MA Lowell will speak about WAM's painting Earth Mother by Edward Burne-Jones. Dr. Cheney is a Pre-Raphaelite, Renaissance, and Mannerism scholar who has published widely and written a book on Edward Burne-Jones, Edward Burne-Jones' Mythical Paintings: The Pygmalion of the Pre-Raphaelites. A visit to the galleries to view the painting with Dr. Cheney is included.
March 22, 2016 -Discussion of the book, Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav's Klimt's Masterpiece Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. “The lusciously detailed story of Gustav Klimt's most famous painting, detailing the relationship between the artist, the subject, their heirs and those who coveted the masterpiece. . . . Art-history fans will love the deep details of the painting, and history buffs will revel in the facts O'Connor includes as she exposes a deeper picture of World War II.”-Kirkus Reviews. Birgit Straehle, WAM Paintings Conservator, will discuss the application of gold leaf to art objects.