About the Collection
The library of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and National Portrait Gallery is part of the Smithsonian libraries. The AA/PG library acquires books to support the collections of two museums. The artists’ book collection contains both artists’ multiples and limited editions. Recently, the library has instituted a collection development strategy for artists’ books. Now the AA/PG library collects artists’ books that have American stories or portraits as their main theme. The library has also hosted a few exhibits of artists’ books, including “Material Meanings” and “Field of Vision.”
Finding Artists’ Books
To find artists’ books at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and National Portrait Gallery Library use SIRIS, the Smithsonian’s online public access catalog. Under the Search tab at the top, click “Combined.” When the “Search by” page comes up, enter “artists’ books” under “Subject Keyword.” Also, under “Limits” select “American Art Portrait Gallery Library” in the right-side menu. Click the arrow to perform the search. This will create a list of books located at the AA/PG library that have been marked as artists’ books.
How to Get There
750 9th Street NW, Suite 2100, Washington, D.C. 20560
The AA/PG Library is located in the Victor Building at 750 9th Street NW. It’s not located in the museum building, though the Victor Building is very close. Take the Red, Green, or Yellow lines to the Gallery Place/Chinatown station. Use the Galleries/9th Street exit. Go north one block on 9th Street.
What to Expect
The library is open Monday through Friday, 10 to 5, except for federal holidays. You don’t need to make an appointment beforehand to do research. When you enter the Victor Building, stop by the guard desk. Present a valid ID and you’ll get a researcher sticker in return. Take the elevator up to the second floor. Ring the doorbell of the library in Suite 2100. A library staff member at the desk will let you in and assist you in your research. For questions, email or call 202-633-8230.
Concealed in the Rising Smoke
Kara Walker’s Pop-Up
Quilting the Book
Recently Added Artists’ Book at the AAPG Library