Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Period of Performance

7/1/2017 - 6/30/2022

Funding Totals

$315,000.00 (approved)
$315,000.00 (awarded)

Building a Duchamp Research Portal at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

FAIN: PW-253855-17

Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646)
Susan Anderson Laquer (Project Director: July 2016 to August 2019)
Matthew Affron (Project Director: August 2019 to present)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art respectfully requests a three-year $350,000 NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Grant to support the creation of an online research portal to provide access to digitized archival materials created by or related to Marcel Duchamp. The Duchamp Research Portal will unify the Museum's voluminous digitized holdings with those of our two partner institutions—the Association Marcel Duchamp and the Musée national d'art moderne Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris)—making the bulk of Duchamp's archival materials, consisting of approximately 60,516 documents, accessible and discoverable through a single interface built on Linked Open Data. The Portal will constitute a learning resource of incalculable value, one we anticipate will generate substantial new contributions to scholarship on the life and work of one of the twentieth century's most significant artists.

Media Coverage

A Portal into Marcel Duchamp (Review)
Author(s): Margaret Huang, PMA Martha Hamilton Morris Archivist
Publication: PMA Stories
Date: 1/31/2022
Abstract: This article examines the role of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) in creating the Duchamp Research Portal, as well as acquiring the collection of Walter and Louise Arensberg, Marcel Duchamp’s primary patrons. The correspondences between PMA and the Arensbergs is preserved in the Duchamp Research Portal, alongside thousands of archival materials, some of which are highlighted in the article. Margaret Huang, project manager and author of the article, discusses creating metadata for the project and collaborating with institutions in France to bring the project to life. Huang highlights important pieces in the collection, including Duchamp’s passport, vaccine record, and rent receipt, all of which help to illuminate the life and works of Duchamp. This article increases awareness of the Duchamp Research Portal and helps reveal the behind-the-scenes work of museum professionals.

Building a Legacy (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Alison McDonald, Antoine Monnier, Severine Gossart, Aurelien Bernard, Margaret Huang
Publication: Gagosian Quarterly
Date: 10/1/2022
Abstract: Part of an ongoing series, this article interviews four key staff members from all three institutions—Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), Centre Georges Pompidou, Association Marcel Duchamp (AMD)—that were crucial to the design and digitization of the Duchamp Research Portal. The interviews offer insight into archival practices, digitization, and collaboration between institutions. It also discusses the legal requirements of both the United States and Europe, including the copyright and intellectual property laws which had to be taken into for this project. Finally, the article emphasizes the role of the portal in humanizing and contextualizing the iconic figure of Duchamp. The portal creates new opportunities for researchers around the world to connect pieces of information that would otherwise be thousands of miles apart, and to gain a more complete picture of the artist Marcel Duchamp.

Associated Products

Duchamp Research Portal (Web Resource)
Title: Duchamp Research Portal
Author: Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA)
Author: Centre Georges Pompidou
Author: Association Marcel Duchamp (AMD)
Abstract: The Duchamp Research Portal is an online platform that aggregates a selection of digitized archival holdings and museum collections at three partner institutions (PMA, Centre Georges Pompidou, and AMD) to make a significant portion of primary source materials related to the French artist Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) accessible and discoverable through a single interface. The outcome of eight years of collaboration between institutions across the globe, the creation and public debut of the portal connects researchers, scholars, and the general public to Duchamp’s subversive and inquisitive work. The platform is dynamic and will continue to grow and improve through new collections and technological advances. Today, the portal hosts nearly 50,000 digitized primary sources including correspondences, drawings, technical plans, photographs, exhibition ephemera, newspaper clippings, and scholarly articles. Some highlights include the artist’s passport and vaccination record, magazine article proofs, and photographs of Duchamp by the surrealist photographer Man Ray (1890–1976). The portal is easily searchable by object, type, contributor, timeframe, and person, and features 23 finding aids which echo the arrangement of the collections in their original institutions. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of all three institutions, the Duchamp Research Portal is a free, accessible, and first-of-its-kind primary resource for anyone interested in learning about Duchamp.
Year: 2022
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: The Duchamp Research Portal is sectioned into Documents and Museum Collections, reflecting the partnering institutions’ administration of the materials. Consisting of nearly 50,000 digitized images and accompanying metadata, the site has served more than 28,000 users from over 140 countries to date. Archival materials can be searched for by object type, contributor, timeframe, and person, as well as through individual collections. In the future, the partners hope to continue refining the portal, collaborating with other institutions, adding collections, and enhancing search functionality.