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Art & Architecture: Art Museums

This guide offers resources and starting points for researchers in art history, digital scholarship, and visual culture.

Tips: Preparing to Visit & Research Art Museum Collections

North Carolina has many fantastic art museums.  Here are a few tips for visiting and conducting research in art museums:

  • Many art museums have websites with additional information about the objects they have on view, as well as objects not currently being exhibited.  Check out museum websites before your visit, to not only learn what their hours are, but to also get familiar with the collection ahead of your visit. Also, take a look at our tips below for locating art museum catalogs.
  • Some art museums have special rules for sketching or painting in the galleries.  Check the museum's website or call the museum before you visit to find out what their rules are for drawing and painting in the galleries.
  • It is usally okay to take photos of works in art museums IF the museum owns the work.  Art work that is on loan from another museum is typically off-limits. Flash photography is usually not allowed in art museums as the flash may damage light-sensitive works and distract other visitors. 
  • Visitors are typically asked not to touch objects on display in art museums (although there may be some cases with contemporary art where you are invited to touch).  This is to protect the work from natural oils and dirt on our skin that can damage the work.  

Corpora/Collection Catalogs

Art museums are increasingly posting on their websites images and information about the works of art in their collections.  However, it is simply not possible to post information about every museum object online.  Print museum catalogs continue to serve an important role in conducting art research.  The Sloane Art Library holds over 23,000 museum collection catalogs and exhibition catalogs.

To locate catalogs of art museum holdings, search online library catalogs and/or Worldcat for the name of the museum and the subject keyword "catalogs".  For example:

Art Museums in NC and Beyond

The Dance Class

24 women, ballerinas and their mothers, wait while a dancer executes an "attitude" for her examination in a rehearsal room in the old Paris Opéra.

Edgar Degas, The Dance Class, 1874, oil on canvas, Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art