The Metropolitan Museum of Art website

Thomas J. Watson Library

The Libraries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Watson and Nolen Libraries will be closed Saturday-Monday, Dec. 23-25 and Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 30-31.
    On Fridays Dec. 22 and 29, book retrieval ends at 1:30 pm, libraries close at 3:00 pm



    Watsonline

    Digital Collections

    WorldCat

    JSTOR

    My Library Account

    Interlibrary Services

    Instructional Videos

    Search Met Objects

    Museum Website
    Museum Exhibitions, 1870-2012

    Subject Guides

    Classes for Museum Volunteers

  • @metlibrary

    • Strange things come across a catalogers desk some days likehellip
      9 hours ago Strange things come across a cataloger’s desk some days: like this portfolio collection of papers entitled “Corner-stone laying,” prepared by former Met trustee Edward Dean Adams (1928?). It looked like just a bunch of aging photostats and retyped articles on corner stones until I came across an article typed on Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Egyptian Art letterhead: “Foundation Deposits in Ancient Egypt,” prepared by Ambrose Lansing. He famously led the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s expeditions in Egypt and Thebes, and was later a curator for the Egyptian Department.  #conservatorsnightmare   #paperclips   #specialcollections   #ambroselansing 
    • Before there was Instagram there were manuscripts! This is Roberthellip
      1 day ago Before there was Instagram, there were manuscripts! This is Robert West’s personal illustrated catalog of his collection of Chinese art from 1930-1948.  #specialcollections 
    • Les dix livres dArchitecture de Vitruve printed in Paris inhellip
      4 days ago “Les dix livres d'Architecture de Vitruve,” printed in Paris in 1684, is being worked on by book conservator Sophia Kramer as part of an NYS grant. The grant covers work on 96 volumes, published in various countries in Europe between the second half of the fifteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century, and illustrates the progressive state of understanding and knowledge about Classical architecture, before the eventual standardization of the text and its translation over the course of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. This selection is part of a gift of 356 books from the…
    • Today is the birthday of one of the great Baroquehellip
      5 days ago Today is the birthday of one of the great Baroque sculptors, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Not only can you come into Watson to read one of the dozens of books we have on the artist, but you can also see his work just outside the library’s doors. These two large marbles (each standing over ten feet on their pedestals) were sculpted by Bernini’s father, Pietro, with the assistance of the young Gian Lorenzo.  #Bernini   #baroque   #sculpture   #hbd 
    • Just a few of the hundreds of books Watson Libraryhellip
      6 days ago Just a few of the hundreds of books Watson Library has on World War I. Check out our recent blog post highlighting some of these (link in bio), and don’t miss the fabulous exhibition “World War I and the Visual Arts,” on display in the Drawings and Prints galleries through January 7th!  #ww1   #wwi   #greatwar   #worldwar1   #ypres   #belgium 
    • Sheryl Oppenheim may have titled her bound collection of marbledhellip
      1 week ago Sheryl Oppenheim may have titled her bound collection of marbled papers “Ugly Children,” but to us they are nothing less than creatures of beauty! She has placed side-by-side examples of acrylic marbling and examples of a Japanese form of marbling known as sumingashi.  #marbling   #marbledpaper   #sumingashi 
    • This recentacquisition is a catalog from a louisenevelson exhibition athellip
      1 week ago This  #recentacquisition  is a catalog from a  #louisenevelson  exhibition at Pace, 1964.  @pacegallery   #specialcollections 
    • Book conservator Sophia Kramer has sewn a new endband onhellip
      2 weeks ago Book conservator Sophia Kramer has sewn a new end-band on this edition of “Les dix livres d'Architecture de Vitruve” (41.100.383) printed in Paris in 1684. This book is being conserved as part of a NYS grant. The grant covers work on 96 volumes, published in various countries in Europe between the second half of the 15th century and the first half of the 19th century, and illustrates the progressive state of understanding and knowledge about Classical architecture, before the eventual standardization of the text and its translation over the course of the late 18th and early 19th century. This selection…
    • Though the dividing line between past present and future mayhellip
      2 weeks ago Though the dividing line between past, present, and future may be an illusion, it’s still nice to know what time it is in Teneriffee, which this “Universal Dial Plate” will help with. Check it out in our digital collections here http://bit.ly/UniversalClock  #watsondigital   #clock   #clocks   #clockface   #timepiece   #timemachine   #timehop   #timepieces 
    • Lobster decoration anyone? From 250 Bordures a portfolio of 60hellip
      2 weeks ago Lobster decoration, anyone? From “250 Bordures,” a portfolio of 60 Art nouveau plates of featuring ornamental borders, published in Paris around 1904. This one was designed by Maurice Pillard Verneuil.  #artnouveau   #lobster   #lobsters   #decor   #interiordecoration 
    • Wonderous things come in small brown packages! In particular thishellip
      2 weeks ago Wonderous things come in small, brown packages! In particular, this wee book from 1708 by Filippo de Rossi entitled “Descrizione di Roma antica” it’s replete with engravings of buildings, people, and coins or medallions. Some of the delightful images fold out - in particular, a map of the city center with monuments depicted and arrows showing the directional flow of the Tiber.  #theeternalcity   #ancientrome   #marbled   #endpapers   #specialcollections 
    • This detail comes from Miyako no omokage or Different Tasteshellip
      2 weeks ago This detail comes from “Miyako no omokage,” or “Different Tastes in Tokyo,” and it was printed in 1890 and illustrates various kimono styles and prints.  #specialcollections   #kimono 
    • FOOD!!! All of these fake plaster porcelain wood spackle andhellip
      3 weeks ago FOOD!!! All of these fake plaster, porcelain, wood, spackle, and illustrated foodstuffs were created by artist Julie Bozzi for a 1992 exhibition “American Food” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego ( @mcasandiego ). Hope you’re all enjoying some real food today.  #thanksgiving   #thanskgiving2017   #gobblegobble   #sooftboiledegg   #oysterstew   #strawberry   #bacon   #stuffedturkey   #cranberrysauce   #pumpkinpie 
    • Lets take a trip down memory lane shall we? Beforehellip
      3 weeks ago Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Before our online catalog, Watsonline, we of course had a card catalog like most other libraries back in the day. And, like many other major research libraries, we occasionally “published” our card catalog to make it more widely accessible. The final edition - consisting of 48 volumes - completed publishing in 1990 and is still available for consultation in our reading room!  #analog   #cardcatalog   #oldschool   #gkhall 
    • Detail from the cover of Flr de S Miguel publishedhellip
      3 weeks ago Detail from the cover of “Flôr de S. Miguel” (published in 1957) by Karl-Heinz Hansen (1915-1978). The woodcuts within this book are lively, and sometimes salacious, depictions of life on the streets of Salvador, Brazil, where the German-born Expressionist engraver had relocated to in 1955.  #woodcut   #expressionism   #salvador   #brazil   #latinamerica   #specialcollections 
    • T is for Tableshears! This necessary tool is discussed athellip
      3 weeks ago “T” is for Table-shears! This necessary tool is discussed at length in “A Manual of the Art of Bookbinding,” originally published in 1874 and republished in 1986.  #specialcollections   #shearmaddness   #bookbinding 
    • One of our favorite books to share with classes studentshellip
      4 weeks ago One of our favorite books to share with classes, students, and other visitors to Watson Library is Irma Boom’s “Architecture of the Book”, an 800 page catalog of books designed by Boom over nearly 30 years, that measures less than 5 x 3.8 cm. Last week, we had the great honor of hosting Boom for a visit, and sharing some highlights from  @metlibrary 's  #specialcollections . Thank you,  @irma_boom_amsterdam , and we hope to see you back here, soon!  #irmaboom   #bookdesign   #metlibrary   #artistsinlibraries 
    • Our latest blog post looks at some of the gorgeoushellip
      4 weeks ago Our latest blog post looks at some of the gorgeous Japanese illustrated books we recently digitized (link in bio)  #incirculation   #illustratedbook   #japaneseculture   #japaneseart 
    • Tiny letterpress book alert! This is artist Hai Hsin Huangshellip
      4 weeks ago Tiny letterpress book alert! This is artist Hai Hsin Huang’s “Now is in the Past,” filled with hundreds of portraits (of visitors to The Met no less!) from her There is No Future series. The book was published by nos:books in Taiwan.  #miniaturebooks   #miniature   #letterpress   #tinybooks   #artistbooks   #portraits 
    • Hey look A Guide to all the watering and seabathinghellip
      4 weeks ago Hey, look, “A Guide to all the watering and sea-bathing places” in England! We could use a vacation: white cliffs of Dover, the wonders of Bath, and Brighton beach. It’s all here in this tiny but concise guide, published in London sometime in the 1920s. When Calgon can’t take you away from the present world, this book will. The book has some fine engravings, maps, and endpapers…if you are into those sorts of things.  #specialcollections   #marbled   #endpapers 
    • Its manuscriptmonday! This is our facsimile of the Codex Gerundensishellip
      4 weeks ago It’s  #manuscriptmonday ! This is our facsimile of the Codex Gerundensis, A.D. 975. The codex depicts the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Beatus of Liébana and Jerome’s commentary on the Book of Daniel, and is richly decorated with 184 surviving miniatures.  #medieval   #manuscript   #apocalypsenow   #codex   #illuminated 
    • This beautiful edition of Sheila Hicks Weaving as Metaphor designedhellip
      1 month ago This beautiful edition of “Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor,” designed by Irma Boom, is a work of art itself. It was even named “Most Beautiful Book in the World” at the 2007 Leipzig book fair. It is currently being housed and preserved in the book conservation lab.  #decklededges   #sheilahicks   #irmaboom   #specialcollections   #metlibrary   #bookconservation 
    • One of the recent American publishers bindings weve acquired Ahellip
      1 month ago One of the recent American publishers’ bindings we’ve acquired, “A Study of Elizabeth Barrett Browning” has a cover that simulates the mosaics the poet so greatly adored.  #publishersbinding   #mosaics   #mosaicart   #elizabethbarrettbrowning 
    • Watson Library recently purchased an art decoera trade catalog featuringhellip
      1 month ago Watson Library recently purchased an art deco-era trade catalog featuring wallpaper designs by the French firm Grantil.  @themetstore  liked it so much they made a 2018 wall calendar out of it, which you can purchase in the Museum shop (in person or online)! Swipe for more images from the original catalog.  #artdeco   #design   #interiordesign   #interiordecoration   #wallpaper   #wallpaperdesign   #grantil   #2018   #giftidea   #giftideas   #christmasshopping   #metstore 
  • Library Blog: In Circulation

    In Circulation

    In Circulation features in-depth articles and the latest news about the Museum Libraries' wide range of research activities and comprehensive collection of books, periodicals, electronic resources, and ephemera related to the history of art.

Thomas J. Watson Library is the central research library of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Its collection of books and periodicals relating to the history of art is one of the most comprehensive in the world. The primary mission of the library is to support the research activities of the Museum staff; in addition, it is open to all visitors college age and older upon registration. Housed within the library are the Florence and Herbert Irving Reading Room, the Arthur K. Watson Reference Room, and the Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation.

The library contains more than nine hundred thousand volumes of books, periodicals, exhibition catalogs, and auction catalogs; eleven thousand periodical titles; collections of autograph letters; and files relating to individual artists and to the history of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Lita Annenberg Hazen and Joseph H. Hazen Center for Electronic Information Resources, an integral part of Thomas J. Watson Library, provides access to an extensive collection of databases, full-text online journals, and indexed online resources for the history of art. It is the base for the library’s extensive program of instruction in the use of art-related electronic resources.

Contact us: for more information, please call (212) 650-2225 or email watson.library@metmuseum.org.

See also:

The Libraries’ blog, In Circulation
Watson Library on Instagram
Watson Library’s Facebook page
Digital Collections Pinterest board


Watson Library Hours:

For Visitors: Monday–Friday 10 am–5:15 pm; Saturday 10 am–5 pm.
For Museum Staff: Monday–Friday 9 am–5:30 pm (Stacks close at 5:15 pm); Saturday 10 am–5 pm.
Book retrieval ends at 3:30 pm on weekdays, and at 2:45 pm on Saturdays.
See Access and Hours, the Book Retrieval Schedule and Library Holiday closures for more detailed information.
Telephone: (212) 650-2225

Nolen Library Hours:

For Visitors and Museum Staff: Monday–Friday 10 am–4 pm; Saturday–Sunday 12 pm–5 pm.
See the Nolen Library page for more detailed information.
Telephone: (212) 570-3788