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ARH 125 - Chase: Worcester Art Museum Library

Worcester Art Museum Library Resources

Background Information:

The Worcester Art Museum is dedicated to the study of the history of art.  The collection spans 50 centuries and encompasses many cultures and civilizations.  The library's resources include books, auction catalogs, periodicals, 35 mm slides, artists files and online images from the collection.  Here are some tips for using the library's resources:

  • You can search at the museum first, or from online first, and then find your items in the physical library. (See directions for searching their Library Catalog below.)
  • Enter the artist's name or a keyword from the title of the work. This retrieves all holding for articles the library would have and/or the image itself.
  • Books are available in the reading room or the stack room. Reading room books are shelved by call number- Either all numbers (Dewey Decimal) or numbers and letters (Library of Congress). Dewey items are to the left of the entrance and LC is straight ahead. Books that are shelved in the stacks are retrieved by a librarian, so: ASK!
  • None of the books leave the library, so give yourself time to browse, and bring some money to make copies and/or printouts: B/W is $0.15, and color is $0.50/page. 

Research a Work of Art:

Note the accession number of the work.  It will be located on the wall label of the object being displayed.  Check the Museum's handbook for items not on display.

Ask a librarian to assist you in searching the index card file which will provide a list of resources about that work.  These may include books, periodicals and special file folders.

Search WAM's Library Catalog:

Search WAM's Databases:

The following databases are available only at the Museum Library:

     American National Biography


Artists' files - especially for contemporary artists:

These files on individual artists are not listed in the online catalog, but are arranged alphabetically in the Museum Library.  Call (508.799.4406) or email ( the library to ask if a file is available.

Borrow Slides:

Consult a librarian if you would like to borrow slides.

You may borrow up to 60 slides for $10.

--Information from the Worcester Art Museum's librarians

WAM Library Information

Exhibition Catalogs

What are they?

They are small books that Document museum and gallery shows.
- Best source for high-quality images
- Usually include artist biographies, curatorial essays, artist interviews and/or writings, and career chronologies.
- Are not cataloged at the WAM- but are organized by the artist's name.