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Online Collections

Many of Dumbarton Oaks’ rich collections, including the museum, rare books, and library and archives, are available online. See below for additional collections available through our website, and explore curated collection highlights.

Museum Collections

The Dumbarton Oaks Museum is known for its specialized collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art. Although far-reaching in scope and wide-ranging in stylistic expression, the objects are unified by a rare beauty and refined craftsmanship, the result of the discerning eye of the collectors and founders of Dumbarton Oaks, Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss.

Find out more information below, or search the collections.

Explore specialized Byzantine collections below.

Byzantine Seals

An ongoing project to record the 17,000 Byzantine lead seals held by Dumbarton Oaks and publish them online. Browse the collection, learn about sigillography, and explore highlights.


Byzantine Coins

The collection of over 12,000 Byzantine coins at Dumbarton Oaks is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The online catalogue presents new acquisitions to the collection, and will eventually provide online access to the full collection.


Textiles in the Byzantine Collection

Featuring late antique, Byzantine, and Islamic textiles, the catalogue of over 260 objects is accompanied by ten essays by leading textile scholars that focus on furnishing textiles in Byzantium and Early Islam.


Manuscripts in the Byzantine Collection

Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss acquired the first manuscript for the museum in 1939. The manuscripts in the Byzantine Collection available as digital facsimiles and accompanying high-resolution images may be explored online.



Rare Book Collection

The Rare Book Collection supports research conducted at Dumbarton Oaks under the auspices of the three programs of study, in Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape Studies. Its holdings combine portions of the reference libraries that the founders of the institution, Mildred Barnes Bliss and Robert Woods Bliss, built to accompany their collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian artifacts. The garden-related materials were added from the late 1940s to support the program in the history of landscape architecture and garden ornament envisaged by Mrs. Bliss. 

Find out more information below, or search the collection.

Digitized Rare Books

Access full digital facsimiles of select titles in the Rare Book Collection, relating to Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian Studies, through this searchable resource.

Explore specialized collections below.

Garden Archives

The Garden Archives makes publicly available over six thousand individual pieces of correspondence, drawings, and photographs. These original materials have been supplemented by histories of the garden areas, biographies of individuals and firms, and sections on contemporary art installations.


Autograph Letter Collection

The Rare Book Collection includes a remarkable assortment of autograph letters from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century cultural notables. This growing resource makes available digital images of the letters as well as transcription, translation, and commentary.

 

Seed Catalogues

The Rare Book Collection houses a small but significant collection of European and American seed catalogues.



Library and Archives

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library exists to advance scholarship in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies through the comprehensive collection of materials in multiple media, published and unpublished; description and arrangement of those materials and presence of informed staff to ensure efficient access; exhibition of collections; and preservation of knowledge in these disciplines whether in print or digital formats for use by future generations.

Search the library collection, or browse archival holdings and explore specialized collections and resources below.

Special Collections

Explore holdings from the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives and the Dumbarton Oaks Archives.


Moche Iconography

The Moche Archive has formed the basis of a body of scholarly work that, in combination with the archaeological record, advances an understanding of the Moche world, including the rites, rituals, flora, fauna, foodways, and practices of this ancient Peruvian culture.


Ephemera Collection

The Ephemera Collection consists of a variety of materials related to the Byzantine and Pre-Columbian cultures and to worldwide gardens and landscapes that provide an alternative, popular cultural perspective on the academic research fields at Dumbarton Oaks.


Manuscripts-on-Microfilm Database

This database allows researchers to search for specific manuscripts represented within the collection of almost two thousand microfilm rolls that are reproductions of medieval and early modern manuscripts, the originals of which are held in institutions around the world.