Access to Collections Not on View

One of museum founder Charles Lang Freer’s primary goals for his collection was to provide an opportunity for uninterrupted study of the objects and to encourage study of the Far East. Since 1923, when the Freer Gallery of Art opened to the public, successive directors have carried out Freer’s wishes, expanding them to include the collections of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery after it opened in 1987.

In meeting this important goal, the objects housed in the museums’ storage areas are available to the public for serious study Monday–Friday, 10 am–4 pm, by appointment with the Collection Management Department. Every effort is made to accommodate any person making a formal request to see or study specific objects in the collection.

In considering requests for access, the museums must balance competing considerations such as the need to safeguard the collection and other demands on the staff. While we aim to fulfill all reasonable requests, preference is given to scholars, students, artists, and staff of other museums. Projects for study must be specific, and visitors must limit themselves to the material requested. Casual browsing and impromptu requests cannot be accommodated. All visitors to collection storage areas will be accompanied at all times by a Collection Department staff member. Researchers must be at least 18 years old. Visits or tours for children ages 12–17 must have an adult chaperone, and children under the age of 12 are usually not allowed access.

For appointments in the storage areas of the Freer Gallery of Art, please contact:
Christina Popenfus, popench@si.edu
Tim Kirk, kirkti@si.edu

For appointments in the storage areas of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, please contact:
Brian Abrams, abramsb@si.edu