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Special Exhibitions Department Records

Identifier: SPX
As testament to the diversity and breadth of the Museum's special exhibitions are those documented in this record group. Some of the more extensively documented include: "Henry Ossawa Tanner" (January 20-Arp. 14, 1991); "Constantin Brancusi 1887-1957" (October-December 1995); "Best Dressed: 250 Years of Style" (October 21, 1997-January 4, 1998); "Degas and the Dance" (February12-May 11, 2003); and "African Art, African Voices: Long Steps Never Broke a Back" (October 2, 2004-January 2, 2005). Indicative of the department's operations are file topics created for almost every exhibiton; namely, contracts, funding, opening events and public relations.

Folder-level inventories are available in the Archives.


  • 1986-2006, undated


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research. Access to institutional records less than 10 years old is at the discretion of the Archivist.

Use Restrictions

The Special Exhibition Department Records are the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.


62.5 linear feet


None available.

Historical Note

In 1990 the Museum established a Special Exhibitions Department charged with coordinating the multiple offices involved in organizing shows, from curatorial to publishing. Along with an administrative assistant, Suzanne F. Wells managed the new department as its Coordinator. From 2002 to 2005, Bethany Morris served as Assistant Coordinator. In 2006, Wells was named Director, and Zoe Kahr, Assistant Director. Special Exhibitions continues to operate as a team of two.


Materials are arrranged chronologically according to each exhibition's opening date, beginning with the creation of the Special Exhibitions Department in 1981. At the series level, materials are divided by decade.

Processing Information

These materials were arranged and described by Bertha Adams, Susan Anderson and Megan Finn in 2011. Funded by a grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services and National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


Guide to the Special Exhibitions Department Records
Finding aid prepared by Bertha Adams, Susan Anderson and Megan Finn
Language of description
Funded by a grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services and National Historical Publications and Records Commission
Edition statement

Revision Statements

  • 7/16/2007: Bertha Adams: July 16, 2007
  • 10/21/2009: Bertha Adams: trial
  • 11/4/2010: Susie Anderson: sample for NHPRC
  • 3/30/2011: Susie Anderson: nhprc

Repository Details

Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives Repository

Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia PA 19101-7646 United States