Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Library & Archives

The Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Library & Archives is open by appointment, Tuesday–Friday between the hours of 10AM and 4PM. Please email us to make an appointment today.

Located on the ground floor of the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Library & Archives is one of the most comprehensive art research libraries in the southeastern United States. Library holdings include over 38,000 items focusing on artists, objects, and styles in the BMA’s permanent collection and visiting exhibitions. The library holds a broad range of research materials including general art reference works, auction catalogues, artist files, subject files, periodicals, exhibition catalogs, and databases. 

The Chellis Wedgwood Collection, housed in the Lucille Stewart Beeson Rare Book Room, is the largest and most comprehensive special collection in the world related to Josiah Wedgwood and his manufactures, and makes the Library the U.S. center for the study of Wedgwood. Among these holdings are letters from John Flaxman and Benjamin West, and Sir William Hamilton’s Collection of Engravings from Antique Vases, known as the Hamilton Folios, the first color plate books in the history of art.

Our growing archives collection contains the archives of artists, organizations, and individuals, including the Lamprecht Cast Iron Library, the Buten Museum of Wedgwood Collection, the Robert and Helen Cargo Archives, the archives of Alabama native Hannah Holliday Stewart, and Birmingham artists Arthur Stewart and Frank Fleming.

Clarence Bloodworth Hanson, Jr. (1908–1983) was publisher of The Birmingham News and a member of the Board of Trustees at Birmingham Museum of Art for twenty-four years. An avid bibliophile and collector of rare books, including a fine private press library, Mr. Hanson brought a keen love of history and art to his duties at the Museum. In his memory, Mr. Hanson’s wife Elizabeth Fletcher Hanson (1910–2001) endowed the Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Library & Archives for the benefit of the Birmingham Museum of Art and its visitors.

Due to the unique nature of many items in the collection, patrons may only use library materials on the premises.