The Museum Library

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Hours and Information

Admission to the library is free of charge.

Library Hours

Wednesday – Saturday, 10am-4pm

Closed: Saturdays, Memorial Day – Labor Day

Online Catalog Research Tools

Phone: 508.793.4382


The Worcester Art Museum Library, founded in 1909, is a bibliographic resource dedicated to the history of art reflecting the collection strengths of the Museum. The Library is managed in association with the College of the Holy Cross, a collaboration that began in 2001.

The Library is located on the second floor of the Museum. The reading room is the original Sculpture Gallery in the Museum's 1898 building and houses frequently used monographs and art publications.

Using the Library

The Library serves the staff of the Museum, and also extends its resources and services to the community, including teachers, students, faculty, collectors, museum docents, scholars, and the general public. Please be respectful of the library staff and other users of the library by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • If you wish to use a book from our Rare Book Collection please contact a librarian to make an appointment
  • Library staff are not able to scan documents for the public
  • Library staff are not able to print out private correspondence or emails for the public
  • Belongings may be checked at any of the Museum entrances
  • Backpacks are not allowed
  • Food and drink are not permitted
  • Free WiFi

A photocopier is available ($.15 per page black and white, $.50 per page color) and a printer is attached to our public access computer terminals.

Digital Collections

The library provides on-line access to over 260 early Worcester Art Museum exhibition catalogs. The digitization of the catalogs was provided by the Digital Commonwealth and Boston Public Library and funded by an LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant. The digitized exhibition catalogs are available on the Internet Archive.


The Library's bibliographic collection encompasses all periods and media of art, with an emphasis on European, American, and Asian art. The collection includes:

  • 53,000 books
  • Online databases (such as ARTstor and Oxford Art)
  • Auction catalogs dating back to 1887
  • Artist files
  • Special materials on the Museum's permanent collection
  • Current subscriptions to 25 art periodicals, and archived holdings of over 200 art periodicals

The collection is non-circulating.


The Library welcomes both monetary donations and books that could be included in the Library's holdings. The Library accepts books that are in good condition and art related. You may also help the Library by donating a book from our wish list.

Friends of the Library

The Friends of the Library group was started in 2002 to support and enhance the Library's activities and collections. Its purposes are: to provide and attract new financial support to enrich the basic collections and activities of the Library; to provide and attract special collections, rare books, and manuscripts; to sponsor special projects or programs; to provide a thorough understanding of the Library and its role in the Museum's future; and to serve as a medium through which persons may advance their own intellectual pursuits and share their enthusiasm for books and art.

The group meets four times a year and enjoys behind-the-scenes programs and special speakers. The group sponsors the triennial art book sale which is the Library's major fund raiser.

Membership Levels

  • Reader $50
  • Bookworm $100
  • Bibliophile $250
  • Bibliomaniac $500

New Friends of the Library members are always welcome! If interested, please email

Friends of the Library 2019-2020 Schedule

Business meetings start at noon with a brown bag lunch followed by our speakers.

  • Friday, September 27, 2019
    James A. Welu. A Frans Hals for Worcester.

    Jim will talk about his essay published in the book, Inspired: Essays in honor of Susan Donahue Kuretsky about his acquisition of a painting by Frans Hals during his tenure as Director of WAM. The painting is the only known portrait of the painter Frans Post, the first European trained artist to paint landscapes of the Americas.
  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019
    Ramie Targoff, Professor of English and Chair of Italian Studies at Brandeis Univ. and author of Renaissance Woman. The Life of Vittoria Colonna.

    A biography of Vittoria Colonna, a confidante of Michelangelo, the scion of one of the most powerful families of her era, and a pivotal figure in the Italian Renaissance.
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2020
    Peter Moriarity. Warm Room: Photographs from Historic Greenhouses.

    Peter Moriarity, a well-known photographer, with works in many major institutions, will discuss his newly published book, Warm Room: Photographs from Historic Greenhouses. The book is a unique portfolio of 56 gelatin-silver prints of distinctive greenhouses of major cities in American and Europe.
  • Tuesday, March 3, 2020
    Whitney Scharer, author of The Age of Light.

    A captivating debut novel by Whitney Scharer, The Age of Light tells the true story of Vogue model turned renowned photographer, Lee Miller. Miller travels to Paris in the 1920's to learn the art of photography, apprentices to Man Ray and becomes his muse and lover.


55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 01609
(+1) 508-799-4406


Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm
Third Thursdays until 8pm
For closing days and Shop, Café, and Library hours, see our Hours and Admission page.

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When you become a Member of the Worcester Art Museum, you join a group of interesting and inquisitive people enjoying a number of great benefits.

Browse Membership levels, benefits and discounts