Library + Archives


The SFMOMA Research Library and Archives is closed through early 2016 due to the upcoming expansion of our building.

SFMOMA will present a dynamic range of off-site exhibitions and programs while the expansion is under way, but we regret that the SFMOMA Library and Archives will not be able to provide on-site or remote research access to its holdings during this time.

About the Library

Woman reading in library
View of archives

The SFMOMA Research Library was established in 1935 with the aim of advancing scholarship in modern and contemporary art. Its holdings reflect the collecting, exhibiting, and educational activities of the museum itself, with particular strengths in photography, art, architecture, design, and media arts.

The library also houses the SFMOMA Archives, the repository for the museum's institutional records dating back to its founding. The archives include records from the Office of the Director, photographs documenting select exhibitions and events, and exhibition records.

Library Collections

Collection Description
Books 80,000 monographs, catalogues raisonnés, exhibition catalogues, artists' books, and more
Periodicals 2,010 magazines, annuals, museum bulletins, and annual reports
Artists' files 47,000 files containing ephemera such as exhibition announcements, résumés, and press releases
The Sydney Tillim Collection 1,100 volumes focusing on photomechanical reproduction processes from the late 1830s to 1970s
The Kurenboh Collection 825 volumes focusing on Japanese photography spanning the 1930s to the present
The Skowhegan Lecture Archive 600 talks on 800+ compact discs documenting an ongoing lecture series at Skowhegan begun in 1952

About the Archives

Archivist at work
Poster for Space for Living
Poster for Space for Living: An Exhibition of Planning and Architecture, 1940; Exhibition Records, SFMOMA Archives


The SFMOMA Archives collects and preserves past institutional records of enduring value. It is the primary source of information relating to the museum's history, encompassing exhibitions, activities, and events; our interactions with significant artistic figures and organizations; and our role as a vital advocate for contemporary art on the West Coast.

Processed collections in the Archives include:

Finding Aids

We have provided a number of finding aids to assist researchers. Follow the links below to download PDFs.


Download a guide to citing archival materials (PDF).