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Research Services | Sherman Fairchild Reading Room

Reading Room home | FAQs | Online application | Handling procedures

Procedures for the use of rare materials

  • Readers are expected to use more than ordinary care in the handling of rare materials, keeping in mind their fragility and individuality.
  • Please wash your hands using the sink in the vestibule of the Reading Room.
  • Only pencils may be used in the Reading Room. Pencils are available at the desk.
  • Unbound material and matted leaves should remain on the table and must not be picked up or held during use. Upon request a wedge support on which to place materials for better viewing will be provided. Unbound material must be kept in the sequence in which it is issued. Matted leaves must be kept in the sequence in which they are issued, and must not be placed face down on the table.
  • Bound materials must be viewed on book supports to prevent damage to bindings. Readers may not adjust supports but can ask a staff member if they can be lowered safely. Velvet "snakes" should be placed gently at the corners of a book to keep pages down, on areas without images or text.
  • Readers must avoid touching the written, decorated or printed surface and must not turn leaves while holding a pencil. Readers may not trace or make rubbings of books, bindings or watermarks. Leaves should be turned from the lower corner and should not be smoothed or pressed flat.
  • With the exception of velvet "snakes," readers must not place anything on top of rare materials, whether opened or closed. Staff members will provide acid-free paper strips to follow lines and flexible rulers for taking measurements, which should be made on unwritten or undecorated areas.
  • Readers may not transfer or share rare materials.
  • Please do not carry rare material to the librarian's desk. A staff member will retrieve it and issue more upon request.
  • Please report any conservation issues to a staff member.
  • Magnifying glasses and light sheets for the study of watermarks are available upon request. Microscopes, ultraviolet and other light sources may be available for use in the Thaw Conservation Center.
  • Digital photography may be permitted, and a limited number of photocopies of some rare materials may be made, subject to advance curatorial approval and other conditions. Readers may make photocopies of microfilms. Photography for purchase may be ordered from the Department of Photography and Rights.

Procedures for handling drawings

  • Visitors are expected to use more than ordinary care in the handling of drawings, keeping in mind their fragility and individuality.
  • Please wash your hands using the sink in the vestibule of the Reading Room.
  • Only pencils may be used in the Reading Room. Pencils are available at the desk.
  • Drawings should be viewed one at a time and returned to box when finished. Drawings should be kept flat on table, always face up. Drawings are not to be turned over at any time. If you wish to view a drawing on an easel, please ask a staff member.
  • To view a drawing, open mat, remove tissue carefully, then close mat.
  • Please handle by edge of mat only, using two hands. Do not touch surface of drawing.
  • Visitors must not place any objects on top of a drawing or mat. Visitors must not handle drawings while holding a pencil.
  • Please ask a staff member for assistance in viewing the verso of a drawing or for watermark study.
  • Staff members will provide flexible rulers or magnifying glasses, if needed.
  • The hinged side of the mat should always be kept to the left when drawing is returned to box.
  • Visitors are asked to respect the order of the drawings as they appear in the box lists (either in forward or reverse order).
  • Please report any conservation issues to a staff member.
  • Prior arrangement must be made if a visitor wishes to compare an original work of art with a drawing or print in the Library's collection.
  • Art students wishing to copy original works of art must specify this in advance, and the drawing will be covered with plexiglas.

CORSAIR, the Morgan's online collection catalog, is available here.


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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.