Collection Research

The RISD Museum stewards works of art representing diverse cultures, from ancient times to the present. Carefully considering the material conditions and ownership history of our collections, our work includes archival, scientific, and humanities-based research. This research is often conducted in partnership with artists and scholars working in related fields, and in consultation with members of the cultural community from which the object originated. Our online collection is a living document. We are committed to open culture data that allows new modes of discovery, collaboration, and knowledge creation.


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With 175 other museums in the United States, the RISD Museum is a participating institution in the American Alliance of Museums Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal, a database established in 2006 to help researchers identify works of art that might have been confiscated by the Nazis and never restituted to their legal owners. In order to facilitate this research, NEPIP provides a searchable registry of objects in U.S. museum collections that “were created before 1946 and acquired after 1932, underwent a change of ownership between 1932 and 1946, and were or might reasonably be thought to have been in Continental Europe between those dates.” This broad inclusion is intended to ensure that all stages of ownership can be appropriately reviewed and more accurate and complete provenance can be established.

Descriptive summaries of more than 350 works from the RISD Museum’s collection that fall into these categories are posted on the NEPIP website, where they may be searched by artist, title, or key word. The entire list of RISD Museum submissions may also be viewed in the Participating Museums section by entering “Rhode Island School of Design” in the Museum Name field.

The RISD Museum’s website is currently developing expanded access to collection information. Provenance records will be updated as information becomes available. Researchers may currently request images of particular works of art and specific details of provenance by contacting

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