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Archives Study Center

Three men examine artifacts in the Andy Warhol Museum Archives. Three walls of the room have glass cases, and through the glass wall rows and rows of the cardboard boxes that are Andy Warhol’s time capsules are visible.

Photo by Dean Kaufman

Warhol’s life and work are documented in The Warhol archives. The collection consists of more than 8,000 cubic feet of material—perhaps half a million objects—and is integral to the museum’s storytelling, along with Warhol’s paintings, films, videos, sculptures, drawings, and graphic art. The archives cover the forty years of Warhol’s creative output, as well as his family, early life, and the broader culture in which he lived. The museum is actively soliciting documents and memoirs related to Warhol and his work.

The keystone of the archives collection is Warhol’s Time Capsules. This serial work, spanning a thirty-year period from the 1950s to his death in 1987, consists of 610 containers (mainly standard-sized cardboard boxes), which Warhol, beginning in 1974, filled, sealed, and sent to storage.

We are still in the process of cataloguing this vast amount of primary research material.

These materials, as well as the museum’s art collections including film and video, are available for scholarly research at the graduate level and above, Monday through Friday in the Archives Study Center by appointment only.

Procedures Governing the Use of the Archives

  1. The researcher must submit a completed research request form, describing the research project and indicating the collections to be consulted. The researcher must fill out a separate application for each research project and for each visit.
  2. Collections may be unavailable for research due to incomplete organization or description; possible violation of right to privacy of authors or correspondents; restrictions placed on material by donors; or The Andy Warhol Museum reserving first rights to publication of current projects. Additional restrictions may be imposed on sensitive documents in the archives in order to protect the legitimate proprietary rights of the institution.
  3. The researcher agrees to indemnify and hold harmless The Andy Warhol Museum, its officers and employees, from and against all claims and actions arising out of the researcher’s use of the documents.
  4. Permission to examine archival material does not include the right to photoduplication.  The Andy Warhol Museum may decline a request for duplication because the materials are oversize, too fragile, or fall outside the “fair use” standard. All duplication requests must be approved by archives staff, and a copyright disclosure statement must be signed. Prepayment is required for all copying orders.
  5. The archival material must be consulted in the assigned locations in the Archives Study Center (or elsewhere in the museum, as necessary) and may not be removed from the assigned location at any time. No smoking, eating, nor drinking is allowed in these areas.
  6. Only pencils may be used for note taking. No pens, inks, erasable inks, nor self stick removable notes (“post-its”) may be used. Tracing from or writing on archival materials is not permitted. Laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and tape recorders may be used, but they are not supplied by the museum.
  7. Copies of Andy Warhol’s audiotapes may only be listened to, and only in the designated work areas. Regarding the tapes, all note-taking, transcribing, and quoting are prohibited under the terms of their gift to the museum. It is strictly forbidden to make duplicate copies of Warhol’s audio tapes.
  8. The researcher must exercise extreme care when handling the material. Many items are fragile, valuable, and/or irreplaceable. Please report any mutilations or other damages.  Some collections can be consulted in microfilm copy or other facsimile form only in order to ensure preservation of the originals. When handling archival material, approved gloves must be worn at all times. The archives staff will provide these gloves.
  9. The researcher may use only one archival box at a time.  The researcher is expected to preserve the existing arrangement of the material within folders and boxes. If anything appears to be misfiled, the researcher should not attempt to correct it, but call it to the attention of the archives staff.
  10. The researcher’s bag(s) and oversized outer clothing (jackets, etc.) will be stored separately from the work area during his or her work and will be available at the conclusion, or as needed.