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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. Prior to conducting research the researcher must submit a completed “Application for Access” form, describing the research project and indicating the works to be consulted. A separate application must be submitted for each research project, and for each visit.
  2. All researchers are required to check in with security upon their arrival to the Museum. Our Security staff will issue a temporary ID badge which must be worn at all times while in the museum.
  3. Certain material in our collection may be unavailable for research at the discretion of The Andy Warhol Museum.
  4. Museum collection material must be consulted in the assigned work area in the museum and may not be removed from the area at any time. No smoking, eating, or drinking is allowed in the work area.
  5. The researcher’s bag(s) and oversized outer clothing (jackets, etc.) will be stored separately from the work area unless needed.
  6. The researcher may examine only one archival box at a time. The researcher is expected to maintain 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. When handling collection material, approved gloves, provided by the museum, must be worn at all times.
  7. The researcher must exercise extreme care when handling and/or photographing collection material. Many items are fragile, valuable, and/or irreplaceable. If an item is too fragile to photograph, or some other factor prevents photography, please ask staff about available substitutes. Please report any mutilations or other damages. Some collections can be consulted only in microfilm copy or other facsimile form to ensure preservation of the originals.
  8. The researcher agrees to adhere to The Andy Warhol Museum’s Researcher Camera Use Policy (see below).
  9. 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 collection material is not permitted. Laptops, tablets, and mobile phones may be used, but they are not supplied by the museum.
  10. It is strictly forbidden to photograph, record, copy, document, or reproduce in any mechanical or electronic way, any images or sound from the film and video materials in the collection.
  11. Copies of Andy Warhol’s audiotapes may only be listened to, and only in the assigned work areas. Regarding the audiotapes, all note-taking, transcribing, and quoting are prohibited under the terms of the license owner. It is strictly forbidden to make duplicate copies of Warhol’s audio tapes.
  12. Permission for transcription of any collection materials must be obtained in advance. Copies of the said transcriptions must be submitted to the museum at the end of the researcher’s stay and will remain part of The Andy Warhol Museum collection. Publication of any transcribed collection materials must be approved by The Andy Warhol Museum, which may be withheld at their discretion. Researchers may be required to submit transcriptions periodically during their stay.
  13. Factual information regarding any collection material, including descriptive notes, identification of individuals, etc., determined during research at The Andy Warhol Museum must be submitted to the museum at the end of the researcher’s stay. Researchers may be required to submit the information periodically during their stay.
  14. Permission to examine collection materials does not include the right to duplicate any film, video, audio material or supporting documents. 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, including photocopies, must be approved in advance by museum staff. A fee will be charged for photocopies with payment due in advance.
  15. The Andy Warhol Museum represents and warrants that it has all right, title and interest in and to the physical film and video material and copyright thereto, provided however, that The Andy Warhol Museum makes no representation or warranty concerning rights to promote, distribute, broadcast, exhibit, or publish any items or film and video material which may portray or depict any individual person other than Andy Warhol, any trademark or trade name, or any copyrighted work of authorship.
  16. The researcher is responsible for complying with copyright law and agrees to indemnify and hold harmless The Andy Warhol Museum, its officers and employees, from and against all claims demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the researcher’s use of collection materials or reference photographs.

Researcher Camera Use Policy

All researchers wishing to take digital photographs of collection material must comply with Procedures Governing the Use of The Andy Warhol Museum Collection and the rules specified below.

Personal cameras may be used in The Andy Warhol Museum, under certain conditions, under the supervision of museum staff, depending on the physical condition of materials, copyright law, and the rules of the museum.

  • Photographs must be for personal research use only. Patrons interested in acquiring high resolution images for publication should ask staff about options.
  • Personal cameras and cell phones may be used. No use of flatbed scanners, laptop cameras, tabletop tripods, camera bags, flash, lights, copy stand, extension cords, audio or video recording equipment is permitted.
  • Photographs taken in the archives may not be published, posted on the internet, donated or sold to another repository or exhibited.
  • A label establishing object identification or location (ex: accession number, folder number, box number, etc.) must be included in each shot. Staff will not be able to supply citation information at a later date for any items photographed without identification.
  • When photographing, furniture in the work area may not be rearranged and researchers may not stand on chairs or tables.
  • If approved by staff to handle material, work must be conducted with care and all guidelines placed by staff are to be followed. Even if the physical condition of the object allows photography, staff may at any time impart additional handling guidelines and restrictions as needed.
  • Material may not be placed on the floor or any surface but the assigned work table.
  • Material may not be folded or removed from sleeves or mats unless directed by staff. Preservation needs always take precedence over photography needs.
  • Do not remove staples, paper clips or other fasteners from original objects. Staff will assist when fasteners must be removed.
  • Manuscript material must be photographed in its folder, in the order in which it has been arranged. Multiple sheets may not be removed to photograph in a single shot. Please ask if you need assistance.
  • There are no limits, but photography is meant to reduce the need for photocopies and to supplement note taking, not to create a complete personal copy.
  • The Andy Warhol Museum and its staff assumes no responsibility for the determination of copyright status or copyright infringement on the part of our users, nor does it prohibit users from making copies for private study, scholarship, or research unless pre-existing agreements with intellectual property license owners prevent such photography.
  • The general Archives Study Center and staff, or other researchers may not be photographed without specific permission from the staff or the person being photographed. Care must be taken not to disturb others.
  • Staff reserves the right to refuse photography privileges when deemed necessary.
  • If the Researcher Camera Use Policy is violated, staff reserves the right to review digital images and request deletion of images that breach the policy from all digital devices, including cloud-based platforms.

By clicking “submit request,” you agree to the Procedures Governing the Use of the Archives and the Researcher Camera Use Policy, listed above.

What you should do is get a box for a month, and drop everything in it and at the end of the month lock it up.

Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, 1975