Museum Library

The Library of Carnegie Museum of Natural History is particularly strong in scientific periodicals. Many periodicals are received through the museum's publication exchange program which distributes Annals of Carnegie Museum and Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History to other museums and libraries. The library's strengths reflect the scientific sections of the museum:

  • Amphibians & Reptiles 
  • Anthropology 
  • Birds 
  • Botany 
  • Invertebrate Paleontology 
  • Invertebrate Zoology 
  • Mammals 
  • Minerals 
  • Mollusks 
  • Powdermill Nature Reserve 
  • Vertebrate Paleontology 

While the library's primary users are the staff of the museum and their professional colleagues worldwide, the collection is available for onsite use by the public. Photocopies may also be requested through interlibrary loan; please provide full citations with information on author, title, publisher, date of publication, and cost. The library maintains various institutional records and also serves as the starting point for research into the archival collections held by the scientific sections. 

Using the Library

Books and journals in the Museum Library collection do not circulate, and must be used in the library. For questions concerning use of the library collection, please call 412.622.3284 or email

The Museum Library's main reading room is in the Oakland complex at 4400 Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, the library collections are distributed throughout the main building and the museum's offsite annexes. Please indicate the material in which you are interested so that we have time to retrieve it for your appointment.

Interlibrary Loans

To request a photocopy of something held in the Museum Library collection, contact your local library's interlibrary loan department and they will make the request on your behalf. If you are not associated with a particular library, you may contact the Museum Library directly at 412.622.3284 or  

Please be sure to give the complete citation, including name of the journal, name of the article, authors of the article, page numbers, volume number, and date of the journal. Please note that we can only fill requests for specific articles, not general information. 

Online search 

To find out whether the Museum Library owns a particular title, search the online catalogue at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Museum of Natural History holdings are listed as CMNH - [name of the departmental library]. If you want to limit your search to the holdings of the Museum Library, please select CMNH from the "Look in the following location" dropdown list. 

Institutional Archives


The mission of the Archives of Carnegie Museum of Natural History is to identify, intellectually and physically organize, preserve, and provide responsible access to records of enduring value, which were created by museum staff and others associated with the museum, and provide essential evidence of the development of collections and research since 1896. 

Archival collections do not circulate and must be used in the Museum Library, with the exception of digitized content that is made available through our website. 

Introduction to Archives

Institutional recordkeeping systems sustain the museum’s institutional memory by identifying, capturing, and preserving information about the museum’s collections and evidence of its research activities. Records having lasting value to the institution are considered archival and are worthy of long-term preservation and maintenance for continuing access.  


Institutional records are those records created or received as a result of the official activities of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Archival institutional records of enduring value include, but are not limited to, incoming and outgoing correspondence, moving images (films), and photographic records in all formats. Specific examples of archival collection records can include field notes, donor correspondence, exhibit records, and other evidence of acquisition. Records can exist in paper form, as photographs or digital images, audio files, or as digital data. Museum staff, board members, and research associates are urged to consider the museum archives as a repository for their personal correspondence and papers as they relate to museum-connected activities. The museum’s archives also serve as the repository for other materials relating to the history of the museum.  

Carnegie Museum of Natural History Archival Reference 

Any archival inquiries should be sent to the following address: The Carnegie Museum of Natural History Archives welcomes all reference requests from external scholars, the public, and internal departments. Depending on the nature and complexity of your request(s), it may take our small staff between one day and several weeks before we can reply to you with an initial response or robust answer. Thank you for your patience and understanding. The archives contain several fully cataloged, or processed, collections. For further information about our archival collections, including finding aids, please use the above address.  

General Rights & Permission Information

Permission to examine archival material of the museum collections does not imply permission to publish this information. For specific and/or serious inquiries surrounding reproductions and fees to use materials from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Archives, please contact the Library Manager at SunX@CarnegieMNH.Org.  

User Agreement

  • Must handle collection material carefully and report any damage immediately to staff when viewing onsite. 
  • Cannot remove or alter labels or other identifying markings. 
  • Accept the decision of the library staff as to whether or not something may be photocopied.  
  • Accept the decision of the archive staff as to whether or not something may be photocopied or scanned. 

If visitors wish to take their own photographs of collection material for purposes of individual research, permission must be granted by the Museum Archivist, who will also approve the conditions under which the photographs are taken. If these photographs are to be used in a published work, permission to use them must be requested in writing from the Museum Archivist and Marketing Director. The Museum Archivist may require that the photograph be taken by museum staff or a museum-approved photographer, and that a publications use fee be applied. This fee will be in addition to that charged for the creation of the photograph. Regardless of who creates the photograph, the credit line will read: Courtesy, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. 

Understand that it is the responsibility of the user to determine the copyright status of unpublished or published text, images, or electronic data found in the museum collections, or held in departmental archival collections. If unpublished archival material such as correspondence or field notes is quoted or referred to in a publication, a credit line must be predetermined by the Museum Archivist or Marketing Director.  

Citing from the Archives 

When citing from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Archives for scholarly publications, please refer to the following guide: 

Citation Guide: Citing Archival Records for Publications 



Electronic Journals

The Museum Library provides full-text online access to selected journals for onsite users. For a list of available titles, see the Electronic Journals page.


Carnegie Museum of Natural History staff and research associates are provided access to OCLC's FirstSearch, a search engine for bibliographic citations or statistical information. Some databases available via FirstSearch include abstracts or provide the full text of material cited. Contact the library at 412.622.3284 or for authorization and login information.


The Museum Library is a contributing member of OCLC and participates in the OCLC interlibrary loan service as a net lender. The Museum Library's OCLC symbol is QPE.

The Museum Library also participates in OCLC IFM service (Interlibrary Loan Fee Management).


Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a subscriber to BioOne, an Internet-based collection of electronic journals in the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences.

For a list of journals available through BioOne, see Because Carnegie Museum of Natural History is also a contributing publisher, BioOne includes Annals of Carnegie Museum and Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Under the license with BioOne, anyone "officially affiliated or registered with the licensee," i.e., Carnegie Museum of Natural History staff and research associates, may have free access to BioOne resources as an authorized user either onsite, through IP authentication, or offsite with username and password. Visitors may only have onsite access.

Authorized users may download, print, and save parts of the licensed material for personal use. Authorized users may not mount or distribute any part of the licensed material on any electronic or other data network, reproduce the whole or any part of the licensed material for any commercial use, or systematically make available or distribute the whole or part of the licensed material to anyone other than authorized users.

Please call 412.622.3284 or email if you have any questions about qualifying as an authorized user or authorized uses of licensed material.

Publication exchange
The Museum Library works with Scientific Publications at Carnegie Museum of Natural History to manage the publication exchange program.

This program enables the exchange of the museum's Annals of Carnegie Museum and Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History for journals produced by other museums and scientific organizations. Publication exchange programs are mutually beneficial to the staff and users of both institutions.

At present, the museum maintains publication exchange agreements with more than 530 exchange partners in more than 75 countries. Approximately 700 journals are currently received from these exchange partners.

To propose a publication exchange with Carnegie Museum of Natural History, please call 412.622.3284 or email