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Special Exhibitions Department Records

Identifier: SPX

Scope and Contents

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-April 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 exhibition; namely, contracts, funding, opening events and public relations.


  • 1986-2006, undated


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Biographical / Historical

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. The department has since transitioned to become the Exhibition Planning Department and is headed by Yana Balson as of 2020.


62.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



The Special Exhibitions Department records document the work and logistics behind the museum’s exhibitions.


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
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Funded by a grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services and National Historical Publications and Records Commission

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