Collections Study Center Policies and Procedures

SFMOMA is committed to providing researchers, educators, and students access to works from the permanent collection that are not currently on display in the museum’s galleries. The Collections Study Center, generously supported by Ray and Dagmar Dolby, balances access to original artworks with the important task of preserving these objects for future generations.

General Guidelines + Physical Handling Rules

The Collections Study Center is open to visitors by appointment Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–noon and 1–4 p.m. To schedule a general visit, please email studycenterappointments@sfmoma.org and we will strive to accommodate appointments within 2 weeks of your request.

Access to prints, drawings, photographs, and other works on paper is granted at the discretion of museum staff. For these requests please email collectionsstudycenter@sfmoma.org and include a description of your research project. Research appointments must be scheduled at least three weeks in advance. A checklist of chosen works needs to be finalized one week prior to the scheduled appointment. Upon arrival at SFMOMA, we will ask you to sign a copy of this form. Certain objects may be restricted if they have not been fully processed or prepared for use, or if SFMOMA is reserving first rights to publication.

Visitors are also encouraged to first explore SFMOMA’s website to get better acquainted with the breadth of the museum’s collection and determine what material is available for request.

  • Only materials necessary for research (pencils, paper, laptops, notes) may be brought into the study center. Pens, food, and drink are not permitted.
  • Only pencils may be used (provided). Post-it Notes are prohibited on any material other than personal property.
  • No more than four boxes of material can be pulled per visit. All visitors must wash their hands before handling collection objects. Certain materials may require nitrile gloves (provided). If visitors have nail polish on their fingers, they must wear gloves.
  • Any long necklaces, ID badges, scarves, or other items hanging from the neck must be removed to prevent accidental abrasion of art objects.
  • Visitors may not touch the surfaces of prints. Visitors should only pick up one print at a time. Prints should not be held upright, and larger prints should not be placed on top of smaller prints.
  • Visitors are not permitted to enter the collection vault.

Photocopying + Photography

Photocopying of photographs/prints is not permitted. Visitors may make photographs without flash for their own personal use. No photography for commercial purposes is allowed. Images of artworks taken by visitors may not be published, reproduced, or sold.

Publications + Permissions

Permission to study collection material does not include the right to publish content. It is the visitor’s responsibility to obtain whatever copyright or other permissions may be required from an artist, his/her agent, estate, or any other third-party rights holder. The researcher agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, its officers and employees, from and against all claims and actions arising out of the researcher’s use of the documents and artworks.

To request high-resolution images of the material or for questions about rights and reproductions, please contact copyright@sfmoma.org.