Some archives have collections digitized and available to view online, but many do not or only have limited digital access. If you wish to visit an archive in person or arrange for a virtual visit please contact the archive in advance by either calling or emailing them via the contact information provided on their individual websites.
- Falvey Library Special Collections
Special Collections located on the second floor of the library houses approximately 15,000 items. Some of these items are rare or unique and most require special handling and preservation.
- Villanova Digital Library
Villanova University's Digital Library initiative assembles, presents, and preserves digital collections that support the teaching and research of the campus and the global community of scholars. We work with faculty, staff and regional partners to select and develop resources that enhance access for a wide range of disciplines and audiences.
- Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
The Academy Library and Archives is internationally recognized for its extraordinarily rare and historic books, journals, art, artifacts, manuscripts, photographs, and the unique papers and research of Academy members and staff.
- African American Museum in Philadelphia
The African American Museum in Philadelphia collects and preserves art and artifacts that document the history and culture of African Americans and people of the African Diaspora.
- American Philosophical Society
The American Philosophical Society Library is a major national center for research in the history of the sciences, medicine, and technology.
- Philadelphia History Museum Special Collections
The Philadelphia History Museum houses several special collections. Together, they provide a broad perspective of three centuries of culture and life in the city.
The Barnes Foundation
The Barnes Foundation houses one of the world’s great collections of modern European paintings, with numerous works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Modigliani. It also features African art, Native American ceramics, Greek antiquities, Pennsylvania German furniture, and decorative ironwork.
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the largest family history libraries in the nation, has excellent collections on local and regional history, and offers a manuscript collection renowned for its 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century holdings.
- Institute of Contemporary Arts
Founded in 1963, ICA has developed an international reputation as a preeminent venue for contemporary art and culture.
- The Library Company of Philadelphia
The Library Company’s holdings include over half a million rare books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and graphics documenting every aspect of American history and culture through the end of the 19th century.
- Masonic Temple of Philadelphia
The Museum's collection consists of more than thirty thousand items. Some prominent pieces on display are the George Washington's Masonic apron and Brother Benjamin Franklin's 1779 Masonic sash.
- The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
The Mütter Museum has a unique collection of specimens and objects that reflect the human history of anatomy and medicine. Our collection ranges from seventh century BCE to 2014, although the majority of our collection dates from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century.
- National Archives at Philadelphia
The National Archives at Philadelphia maintains the historically significant records of the Federal Agencies and Courts, in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, dating from 1789 to the present.
- National Museum of American Jewish History
The Museum’s artifact collection represents the broad spectrum of American Jewish life and illustrates such universal themes as immigration, worship, hard work, entertainment, and community and family life.
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
The Archives of PAFA offer a variety of records, ephemera, photographs, artifacts, and transcripts that chronicle the institution’s rich history since its founding in 1805.
- UPenn Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
The material collections housed at the Kislak Center include more than 350,000 books and 15,000 linear feet of manuscripts in a wide range of disciplines and formats, from medieval manuscripts to twenty-first century artists' books.
- Wagner Free Institute of Science
The Institute has an extensive library of primarily scientific works collected by the founder, and over the course of its history. Dating from the late 17th to the early 20th century, the collection covers the natural and physical sciences, education, medicine, archaeology and anthropology, the pseudo-sciences, instrument building, and engineering.