The New York Public Library has from its inception been a steward of the performing arts, which are by their nature experiential and evanescent. Our research collections preserve a wide range of materials that record and contextualize artistic performance in all its forms—theatre, music, dance. The highest concentration is found at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, located at Lincoln Center. We collect costumes and costume designs, set models, scripts, manuscript scores, posters, programs, and a vast amount of audio and moving images. A selection of the latter can be viewed at the rear of the gallery.
The materials on display here highlight the collaborative nature of performance, while also providing insight into the personalities and styles of individual artists. Artifacts and documentation of the creative process and of performances themselves allow us to research, to imagine, to remember, to recreate—and also inspire entirely new creations.
Please note when viewing in the gallery: some items listed here as "on view" have undergone page changes, or have been replaced by similar works from the same series, to preserve and maintain the valued artifacts in accordance with conservation guidelines.