Collections in Storage

a curator speaks to a group of attentive visitors to collections storage. several objects are on a table between them.

One of museum founder Charles Lang Freer’s primary goals for his collection was to provide an opportunity for uninterrupted study of the objects and to encourage study of the Far East. Since 1923, when the Freer Gallery of Art opened to the public, successive museum directors have carried out Freer’s wishes, expanding them to include the collections of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery after it opened in 1987.

Collections Storage Appointments

The National Museum of Asian Art strives to make collections accessible for scholarly and artistic research. Objects in storage are available for study by appointment only. Appointments to view objects in the collections must be requested at least six weeks in advance. Our appointment slots are two hours each, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding all federal holidays.

In considering requests for access, the museum must balance competing considerations, such as the need to safeguard the collections and other demands on staff. Preference is given to scholars, students, artists, and staff of other museums. Requests are approved on a case-by-case basis contingent on staff availability. The museum does not provide tours of storage.

Visitors must limit themselves to the material requested. Casual browsing and impromptu requests cannot be accommodated. All visitors to collection storage areas will be accompanied by a staff member at all times. Visitors must be eighteen years or older.

Prior to your appointment, we encourage you to search our collections for more information.

For appointments in NMAA object storage areas, please contact Christina Popenfus at

Archives and Library

Archival collections are managed by the NMAA Archives and are open to scholars by appointment only. For appointments to access the NMAA Archives, please visit our Archives page for more information. For information or to schedule an appointment at the NMAA Library, please visit our Library page.