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Renovation Notice

The gardens will be closed to the public from July 10, 2017, until March 15, 2018. A reduced season pass is available.

Pre-Columbian Photographs and Fieldwork Archives

The Pre-Columbian Photographs and Fieldwork Archives (PCPFA) comprise over 10,000 images of Pre-Columbian objects, archaeological sites, architecture, monuments, maps, major codices, and illustrations.


The holdings document places and objects from Mesoamerica, the Intermediate Area, and the Andes, and cover around 2,000 years of history. They consist of photographs (black and white prints, black and white negatives, color transparencies and color slides), as well as drawings, prints, and rubbings, many of which have been scanned and converted into electronic files.

Among the Archives' main holdings are photographs of objects, including the Maya Ceramic Archive generated by Nicholas Hellmuth, the Paracas Textile Archive created by Anne Paul, and images of objects in Dumbarton Oaks' Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art. The Archives also contain drawings of objects, including the Dellenback Archive of stone sculpture from Colombia, and the Vergara Archive of pyroengraved gourds from Peru. Other holdings are the result of fieldwork expeditions, including the Thomson Expedition Archive documenting an 1888 expedition to Yucatan, the Roosevelt and Cross Archive documenting a 1934 expedition to Peru, the Bliss Travel Archive documenting a 1935 trip to Guatemala, and miscellaneous photographs of archaeological sites, colonial churches, historic towns, and landscapes in Latin America.

The Archives are accessible by appointment only. Please contact Juan Antonio Murro, Assistant Curator, Pre-Columbian Collection, 202–339-6442.

Visit the Pre-Columbian Photographs and Fieldwork Archives online.

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