The Morgan Library and Museum



Name: The Morgan Library and Museum


Purpose & Audience:


The mission of The Morgan Library & Museum is to preserve, build, study, present, and interpret a collection of extraordinary quality, in order to stimulate enjoyment, excite the imagination, advance learning, and nurture creativity.

A global institution focused on the European and American traditions, the Morgan houses one of the world’s foremost collections of manuscripts, rare books, music, drawings, and ancient and other works of art. These holdings, which represent the legacy of Pierpont Morgan and numerous later benefactors, comprise a unique and dynamic record of civilization, as well as an incomparable repository of ideas and of the creative process. – Morgan Library and Museum Mission Statement



Access and Transparency
The Morgan is committed to providing the fullest possible access to its collection and landmark facility, and to serving a broad and diverse audience of all ages, including students, scholars, and the general public. A comparable openness distinguishes its operation as both a library and a museum. – Morgan Library and Museum Mission Statement


Digital Information Sources: The foundation of the collection is based upon the personal collection of art, drawings, manuscripts, early printed books, literary items (manuscripts, personal letters) of  American banker and collector Pierpoint Morgan (1837 -1913). Continuing collection development is supported through donations and acquisitions that continue the emphasis and focus begun by Morgan.


Digital Information Services: A variety of services are available at this venerable cultural repository. On site, patrons can access the Reading Room, the Drawing Study Center, the Drawing Institute, and the department of Imaging and Rights. Online research guides are available to the collections, providing comprehensive overviews of the history of each collection, its focus, continuing acquisitions policies, and details of the types of materials highlighting strengths of the collections.



Three  Interesting Features:

  • Dynamic combination of primary sources and multimedia points of access to collection items.
  • The museum and library’s history itself can be understood as a piece of American history.
  • Original content generated by the organization, such as the short documentary on Jane Austen and the  online presentation on the manuscripts and letters of Oscar Wilde. This content provides insights into the acquisition process of previously lost or unknown materials, and support for learning about the authors and their works.

I’m Nobody! Who are You? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson Online Exhibit

The Dickinson exhibition, “I’m Nobody, Not a Chance, Emily Dickinson” , according to the New York Times, transforms the Morgan into a literary “pilgrimage site”, complete with relics, placing the poet in the context of her home and life. The digital library and museum offers visitors virtual experience of the exhibit, with primary documents, audio files of the poetry read aloud, and the ability to zoom in and experience the poetry in the author’s handwriting.




The show has a mission: To give 21st-century audiences a fresh take on Dickinson. Gone is the white-gowned Puritan nun, and that infantilized charmer, the Belle of Amherst. At the Morgan we get a different Dickinson, a person among people: a member of a household, a village-dweller, a citizen. – Holland Cotter, New York Times Art & Design Art Review, January 19, 2017Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 11.11.37 AM.png

This family portrait  is hung on a wall similar to the wall paper in Dickinson’s bedroom. This detail underscores the intent of the exhibit, the place the poet in the context of her lived experience and offer a different perspective in contrast to received notions.



A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy


Anonymous, British school Miniature portrait of Jane Austen, watercolor on ivory [England]



The Morgan Library and Museum collection holds the largest number of Austen’s work held by any public or private organization, with one third of the extant materials in the world. The online exhibit offer visitors the opportunity to trace the development of Austen’s work, read correspondence and explore images from her time period. The exhibit includes a brief documentary, The Divine Jane as well as, “the only surviving draft of any of her novels”, which includes an audio recording of Lady Susan, published posthumously by a descendant, her nephew.


Multimedia Presentation on Manuscripts and Letters of Oscar Wilde

Curator Christine Nelson narrates the history and context of the acquisition in depth in this multimedia presentation. It provides an insightful inside look into how the volume came to be donated to the Morgan Library and Museum, its history and and the larger historical context of the life and works of Oscar Wilde.




Cotter, H. 2017, January, 19. I’m nobody? Not a chance, Emily Dickinson. Retrieved from /2017/01/19/arts/design/im-nobody-not-a-chance-emily-dickinson.html