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The Metal Museum Resource Library and Archives contains over 6,000 books and portfolios on metalwork, including rare books on decorative and fine arts, over 36,000 drawings, images, and audiovisual materials including archival films and instructional DVDs.
A stack of closed and open books, including "The Blacksmith's Cookbook."
Built in 1883 as part of the first federally-funded health care facility in Memphis, the Metal Museum Library, formerly the hospitals's administration building, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Renovations to the building were completed in 2007 and the Library building was dedicated on June 3, 2007.  In addition to housing the Library and Archive Collections, the Library building hosts temporary and permanent exhibitions, hands-on activities, and meetings. Parts of the Permanent Collection are currently on display on the second floor of the Library in the Visible Storage and New Acquisition Galleries.



The core of the Library Collection is Julius Blum's personal collection of books and portfolios on architectural metalwork. The materials were loaned to the Museum in 1983 and, in 1995, Walter Blum, President of Julius Blum and Company, Inc. donated the collection to the Museum. Other significant collections within the Metal Museum Library include the Abe Sauer Collection (Museum founder and founder of Tennessee Fabricating) the J. G. Braun Collection (Chicago area metal fabrication company founded in 1886), the Bill Gichner Collection (owner of Iron Age Antiques and dealer in rare books), the Jack Hemenway Collection, and the Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America collection of books, video tapes and slides. You may view the Metal Museum's library holdings online thanks to a generous donation from Robert and Barbara Keeler in memory of Brooks Davis.



The Metal Museum's institutional archive includes approximately 22,000 drawings, photographs and slides. Most of the drawings are from the Otto Schmirler Collection, an archive of about 1,000 architectural drawings that was donated to the Museum in 1988 by the artist's wife Mrs. Vasta Schmirler. Additionally, the archive includes approximately 20,000 slides and 1,000 photographs that document Metal Museum exhibitions, events and past commissions as well as individual artist portfolios. The Museum is currently working on digitizing and cataloging the institutional archive with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Once digitized, the images will be hosted in an online database on the American Craft Council Library & Archives website.



The Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) Slide Archive includes 14,000 35mm slides documenting artists' processes, work, and exhibitions. Donated to the Museum in 2004 by the Society of North American Goldsmiths, this archive has been digitized for long term preservation and increased accessibility through grants from IMLS, the John and Robyn Horn Foundation and an ArtsFirst Grant from the First Horizon Bank Foundation. After extensive cleaning and color-correction, the digitized images were uploaded to an online artist database hosted by the American Craft Council Library & Archives.

Slide view of an artwork, before color correction.
Slide view of an artwork, after color correction.

Convergence in Gray & Green by Jamie Bennett, before and after color correction

These projects were made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant MA-30-15-0321-15

American Craft Council logo
Institute of Museum and Library Services logo
Society of North American Goldsmiths logo
The John & Robyn Horn Foundation logo
First Horizon Foundation logo

The 2007 Library Renovation was made possible through the generosity of hundreds of individuals and organizations, including

Windgate Charitable Foundation

The City of Memphis


William and Janice Gasparrini

The Assisi Foundation of Memphis

The Keeler Family and Keeler Iron Works

Stan Lawler and the Lawler Foundry

Rive Bluff Forge Council

David Hudgens and Accu-Crete, Inc.

Marie Anne Klinke

The Plough Foundation

Phillip Fike

California Blacksmith Association

Paula and Jon Higdon and BCS Industries, LLC

Marianne and Ronald Walter

Patricia and Gary Griffin

National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

Barbara and Chuck Cummins and Legion Iron, Inc.

The Klyce Family

With in-kind donations from

Advance Manufacturing

Bill Gichner

Prudy and Richard Howe

LCI Construction, Inc.

Pat Turns

Southern Painting

The Metal Museum would also like to thank Rio GrandeThe Rotasa Foundation, and J. Cotter Gallery for their support.

Use of the Metal Museum Library and Archives for research is by appointment only. To make an appointment, please contact Collections & Exhibitions Manager, Brooke Garcia, at

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