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The Museum employs a staff of more than 250 employees, many of whom hold national- and international-caliber scholarly credentials and are active in conducting and publishing research across a number of fields. The Museum’s Richardson Memorial Library and Archives are important research resources and the Study Room for Prints Drawings and Photographs provides access to the Museum’s collection of works on paper.

Richardson Memorial Library and Museum Archives

The Library opened April 18, 1915 as the result of the first legacy gift ever given to the Museum—a bequest of stocks and bonds valued at the time at about $60,000 from Mary D. Richardson, who wished to honor the memory of her husband, St. Louis businessman J. Clifford Richardson. What started as a collection of 5,000 volumes has grown into a research facility that boasts 140,000 volumes, extensive holdings of auction catalogues and pamphlets documenting the history of artists in St. Louis, and digital access to scholarly articles from around the world.

Unlike many art museum libraries, the Richardson Memorial Library is open to the public. During its public hours—from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday—the Library is often used by visiting art historians, university students and local collectors. In addition, the Library staff oversees a network of six Satellite Resource Centers that give educators access to a loan collection of curriculum kits and “touch kits,” which include touchable objects and reproductions that help students learn about art history.

The Library also oversees the Museum Archives, which houses the historical records of the Saint Louis Art Museum.

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Study Room for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Because works of art on paper are light sensitive, they can only be exhibited for short periods of time. Works not on view in the Museum’s galleries may be viewed by appointment in the Study Room for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. Individuals and groups are welcome.

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Provenance Research

The history of ownership, or provenance, of works of art has always been an integral part of scholarship at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The Museum scrutinizes the provenance of every work that enters the collection. The Museum also continually researches the works already in its collection.

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