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FLEET LIBRARY | Research Guides

Rhode Island School of Design

RISD Museum Object Research: RISD Museum Objects

A guide to researching museum objects from the RISD Museum and elsewhere

Step 1 - record the museum label

1. Determine the artist, title, medium, date, place of origin, and museum object number of the object of interest. This information is best collected while in the museum and is located on the artwork's museum label. It may also be available on the RISD Museum website. Write down the information or take a photo of the museum label and come to the Reference desk located on the first floor of the library.

Step 2 - RISD exhibition catalogs

2. Search RISD Library's online RISD Museum Exhibition Catalogs Index. This index lists the objects covered in each of the RISD museum publications available at RISD Library. Use the index to locate various entries on your object in various RISD Museum exhibition catalogs and the Museum handbooks.

Select column C (object ) or D (artist's name) to search:
Use Control + F to open the Find search box
Enter the artwork or artist's name and select Find

Scroll over and click the call number to link to the RISD/ATH catalog.

If you're in the library, stop by the Research Help Desk and ask the librarian or student assistant to help locate the exhibition catalogues.

Please note: the Exhib. Catalogs Index covers over 4,000 of the museum's 80,000 objects.
Not all work in the museum has been exhibited or reviewed.

Step 3 - books & articles

3. Search for books and articles on your object. 

See Page 3 of this guide, Find Journal Articles on RISD Museum Objects

and for books see Catalogue raisonné

Step 4 - talk to a curator


4. Contact the RISD Museum Curators of the department where the artwork resides. Curators keep detailed records about each object and will be able to refer you to the most up-to-date sources of information on the work you are researching.

see Collections

Ancient Art
Asian Art
Contemporary Art
Decorative Arts
Painting and Sculpture
Prints, Drawings and Photographs

Step 5 - get research help

5. Still need help? Contact RISD Library's Research Help Desk and ask for a librarian's assistance. We'll be happy to help you with your search.

RISD Museum Object Registration System

Each object owned by the RISD Museum is assigned a unique series of numbers by the Museum Registrar.

For more info see RISD Museum Object Numbers