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. Please be respectful of the library staff and other users of the library by adhering to the following guidelines:
- If you wish to use a book from our Rare Book Collection please contact a librarian to make an appointment
- Library staff are not able to scan documents for the public
- Library staff are not able to print out private correspondence or emails for the public
- 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 2017-2018
Business meetings start at noon with a brown bag lunch followed by our speakers.
Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
Judith K. White, author, linguist, educator, entrepreneur.
While living in Amsterdam, Judith K. White became fascinated with the city's 17th-century history, culture, and art. Soon she began imagining fictional characters who might have lived in the city in the mid 1600's: a spirited orphan, a couple estranged by loss, a young Spanish woman who survives a shipwreck, a youth endowed with an unusual gift. The stories of these characters' intertwined lives eventually covered three books and became Amsterdam Trilogy.
Judith came of age in rural Ohio and earned degrees at Oberlin College and Ohio State University. Her adult life includes extended periods in Central and South America as well as Amsterdam. A lifelong lover of language, Judith is fluent in French and Spanish and conversant in Dutch which she regularly refreshes during visits to The Netherlands. Her careers span linguist, educator and trainer; Founder of Foreign Language for Young Children; Co-Founder/Co-Director of Global Child, Inc.; and Director of Development at Latin American Health Institute. Previous to writing Amsterdam Trilogy, she published Phrase-a-Day Series for Children in French, Spanish and English. With her husband, Allen L. White, she also wrote a memoir, Autumns of Our Joy: A Memoir of Romance, Stem Cells, and Rebirth. Her talk will focus on author inspiration and adventure plus the role art plays in her writing. Her books will be available for signing and purchase. Birgit Straehle, WAM paintings conservator, will give us a tour of WAM's Dutch paintings to complete the program.
Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
Caroline Camougis, an award-winning documentary film producer.
Camougis is currently in production on Dark Prince, as well as collaborating with James Dempsey on a visual history of Scofield Thayer and The Dial. Her talk will focus on Thayer's life, his extraordinary collection of art and its storied history at the Worcester Art Museum. Worcester native Scofield Thayer (1889-1982), a genius and eccentric patron of the arts, introduced Modern art and letters to the U.S. through the pages of his celebrated magazine The Dial. At the height of his brilliant career, at the age of 37, Thayer was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and retreated from public life. The upcoming film Dark Prince: Scofield Thayer – the man who made america modern, will explore Thayer's life and times and the intersection of creative genius and madness. The Dial Collection, over 600+ Modernist treasures, including works by Picasso, Matisse, Lachaise, Chagall, etc., was housed for over 50 years at the Worcester Art Museum, before being transferred to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984. After 40+ years in storage, The Met is showing a selection of Thayer's collection; the film is tied to The Met's exhibition which opens in July 2018.
Thursday, April 12th, 2018
Leila Philip, award winning author and professor of Creative Writing and Literature at College of the Holy Cross.
Leila Philip is the author of four books, including The Road Through Miyama, which received the prestigious 1990 / PEN Martha Albrand Special Citation for Nonfiction; and the award-winning memoir A Family Place: A Hudson Valley Farm, Three Centuries, Five Wars, One Family. Philip has received numerous awards for her writing, including from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts and The National Endowment for the Humanities. Fluent in Japanese, Philip studied ceramics in Japan and writes often on Japan as well as about art for Art Critical. In addition to publishing essays and poems, Philip contributes frequently to the opinion page of The Boston Globe.
Philip's most recent book is Water Rising (poetry and watercolors, New Rivers Press) with Garth Evans, an art collaboration which has led to musical performances and the creation of a video installation, “Environment, Memory & Things,” currently on view at the New Bedford Art Museum through March 11th 2018.
Water Rising has an environmental mission; 100% of proceeds from sales of the book are being donated to support environmental stewardship. See www.water-rising.com
Philip teaches at the College of the Holy Cross where she is a Professor of literature and Creative Writing in the English Department.
Fun fact; her summer job throughout college was working as a cheetah ranger in southern Oregon. She is a great fan of the Worcester Art Museum.
Tuesday, May 29, 2017
Dr. Susan Gordon will be presenting an illustrated talk to the WAM Friends of the Library on Kate Felu's book, 'The Secret Life of the Georgian Garden' revealing some of the hidden happenings, amongst hedges and ha-has, in the English country house landscape. Dr. Gordon will relate her talk to objects in the Museum's collection. Dr. Susan Gordon is an Art Historian and a Historic Landscape Consultant. She is currently an associate tutor at the Centre for the Study of the Country House at the University of Leicester in England.