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Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, Corcoran Gallery of Art archives department records

 Record Group
Identifier: COR0005.3-RG

Scope and Contents

When it was located in the Corcoran, the archives housed two "collections" that are included as series here: The Archival Audiovisual records, and the Reference vertical files. The audiovisual records include a relatively small number of videotapes and slides, but over 1,300 photographs of people, events and buildings related to the Corcoran Gallery and School throughout their histories, which were removed during processing from other record groups. The audiovisual records also contain posters of Corcoran events and exhibits. The record group also contains some unprocessed files including administrative records of the archives itself and folders needing refiling.


  • circa 1890-2007


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to research with the following exceptions:

Records of the Board of Trustees and records of the Office of the Director are closed to research for 25 years from the date of creation.

Access to student records is governed by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student education records. Student records are closed for the lifetime of the student, and are presumed to be open 75 years after the date of record creation.

Personnel and financial records are closed for 50 years from date of record creation.

Development records are closed to research.

Please see the Public Services and Instruction Librarian for assistance.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that the institution owns copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright in its works to The George Washington University; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For activities that the researcher determines fall under fair use as defined under U.S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Please contact Special Collections if the copyright status of the materials you wish to reuse is unclear. Staff will provide additional information. For re-use of materials in the collection not created by the donor, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights, determining if the intended re-use falls under fair use, and obtaining approval from the copyright holder if the intended use does not fall under fair use. For such materials, researchers do not need anything further from The George Washington University’s Special Collections Research Center.

Historical narrative

The following history was prepared in 2019 by George Washington University SCRC staff with the support of the Luce Foundation.

The Corcoran Archives was established in January 1980 with the assistance of grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and later the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency. The Corcoran Archives was established with the purpose to collect and preserve the papers which document the heritage of the largest private museum and art school in the nation’s capital. The creation of the Corcoran Archives made available to the public for the first time the records of the oldest museum in Washington.

In 2008, due to space reduction, most of the Archives' holdings had to be reboxed and were shipped to offsite storage. However, transfer of materials from the Corcoran's various departments to the archives continued until 2014.

In the spring of 2016 the George Washington University Libraries was selected as the permanent home of the historical archives of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran College of Art + Design.


200 Linear Feet (151 boxes (likely primarily record cartons). Because it is unknown if all the boxes are record cartons this total linear footage is questionable.)

Language of Materials



The archives department records consists of the archives audiovisual collection, including the photograph collection, some reference vertical files, and some unprocessed files including administrative records of the department itself and folders needing refiling. The records date from approximately 1890 to 2007.


Organized into eight series: Audiovisual and graphics records, Reference vertical files, Accession and Iron Mountain transfer records, Archivist files, Publications, Exhibition clippings, National Gallery of Art transfer, and Corcoran Library administrative files

Physical Location

Some materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Corcoran Institution Board of Trustees donated these records to The George Washington University in 2016.

Preliminary Guide to the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, Corcoran Gallery of Art archives department records, circa 1890-2007
University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America