The San Diego Museum of Art Library is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

Upon Museum reopening, the Library is limiting in-person guests to staff and docents, by appointment. Staff and docents can schedule an appointment by contacting the Library at with the following information:
 – A list of requested materials, including books and scan requests
 – Appointment or no contact pick-up availability

Once the request is received, depending on availability, an appointment or no contact pick-up will be arranged. There will be no free-roaming of the Library, and face masks and social distancing are required.

There is no in-person access for the public and members at this time. Reopening of The San Diego Museum of Art Research Library and Archives for members by appointment will be announced at a later date.

The Library will also be offering remote support and participation in inter-library loans. Anyone with any questions or needs, such as setting up a Library account, may contact the Library at or 619.696.1959. Please leave a detailed message.

About the Library

The Library’s ambition is to facilitate research concerning The San Diego Museum of Art, and its community, preserve its institutional history, and inspire lifelong learning.

The Library, located through the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court gates and next to the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden, is the region’s largest library specializing in the visual arts. The Library’s holdings comprise more than 30,000 volumes covering a wide range of art topics, with a special emphasis on Italian Renaissance, Spanish Baroque, Indian miniature painting, and Chinese art.

The Library maintains an extensive collection of artist files containing ephemera, articles, and other information on more than 30,000 individuals, from Old Masters to contemporary artists. The Library houses a collection of rare books, prints, and periodicals that provide a deeper understanding of visual culture and art history. Most notable within the rare book collection are the catalogues raisonnés and East Asian art folios.

Located inside the Research Library, the Archive is the repository for a wide range of materials pertaining to the history of the Museum and of the arts in San Diego. The collection contains items relating to key figures in the growth of the Museum such as the Bridges and Putnam families, Earle Grant and Pliny Munger, Dr. Clarence and Mrs. Ellis Spreckels Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Irving Snyder, and the Museum’s first director, Reginald Poland.  Papers, letters, photographs, and sketchbooks of several important artists including Robert Henri, Donal Hord, William Templeton Johnson, Alice Klauber, Alfred Mitchell, Walter Pach, Arthur Putnam, Roland Schneider, Florence Kemmler Schneider, and Fritz Werner are also in the collection. 

For general inquiries, research questions, or appointment scheduling, please contact the Library at or 619.696.1959.


The San Diego Museum of Art Library is continuously accepting donations. Donated items will be added to the Library’s collection, used in educational programming, or sold at the next book sale. (Held annually on the third Tuesday of July.) If you are interested in donating items, please contact the Library at or 619.696.1959.

Become a Volunteer

The San Diego Museum of Art Library is looking for volunteers to help in various areas of the Library. Previous library or museum experience is encouraged but not mandatory, and all disciplines are welcome. If you are interested in volunteering at the San Diego Museum of Art Library, please visit this link or contact for more information