The Marketing and Public Relations Department records houses photographs and documents created and used by the marketing team at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to promote exhibits, events and other activities of the Museum and its various departments. The records were used for external advertising as well as for publication in the Museum’s internally produced and distributed publications, like the annual report or The Bulletin . The collection dates from 1947 to 1999, with the bulk of the material dating from 1970 to 1995, and includes a wide variety of materials, including photographs of events and featured works of art, artist information, press releases, newspaper clippings, correspondence and financial information.
While the collection is large, it does not appear to offer equal or complete documentation of all marketing and public relations efforts. Particularly well documented campaigns include the Constantin Brancusi, John Cage, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Anselm Keifer and Jasper Johns exhibitions. Coverage of these exhibitions includes information on advertising strategy and cost and visitor statistics, as well as the exhibit’s economic impact on the Philadelphia region. There are also photographs of featured works of art and of the gallery installations.
Other well represented subjects include: PMA Board of Trustees (filed under Trustees), Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museum volunteers and guides, and the Gallatin, Johnson and McIlhenny Collections. There are also several files on Wednesday night programming at the Museum. the Philadelphia Craft Show, the Thomas Eakins House, Fairmount Park Historic Houses and the Fleisher Art Memorial.
The collection also offers documentation of the Museum building, particularly photographs of exhibit installations and building renovations. For example, in the 1970s, the Museum was closed to the public and galleries were emptied to install a new climate control system. There is both photographic and textual documentation related to the publicity and outreach efforts undertaken by the Museum during the year it was closed to complete that project. In the 1990s, the Museum completely reinstalled large portions of its galleries, including the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries. There are records related to those efforts, which are filed under "Reinstallation."
While the collection was transferred to the archives in several sections, it has been arranged as one, large alphabetical subject file. Researchers should be aware that though processors made every effort to collocate files, there are inconsistencies in filing, and researchers should consider searching for topics under multiple headings. Generally speaking, papers related to exhibitions are filed in two ways. Solo exhibitions are filed under the artist’s last name; all others are filed by the title of the exhibition. Papers pertaining to any of the Museum’s large collections are filed under the donor’s last name. For example, records regarding the Henry P. McIlhenny Collection are filed under M, for McIlhenny. Papers regarding the Museum’s historic park houses, are first filed under F for Fairmount Park. Processors did their best to consistently file topics under one heading, however, there are inconsistencies. Researchers are therefore advised to look for topics under several headings or perform a key word search.