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The Archive of Documentary Arts actively acquires historical and contemporary documentary projects directly from artists and collectors through purchases and donations. Before submitting your work or collection please review our section below on Materials Currently Sought to determine whether your project is a good match for us. We are most interested in cohesive bodies of work in the final stages of completion. Our staff is small and we receive a large number of inquiries, so it may take time for us to respond to your submission.

We look forward to becoming acquainted with you and your work!

Materials Currently Sought

The archive seeks to preserve and acquire collections of intentionally created narratives and bodies of work that document a broad range of human experience. The archive collects the finished work as well as the materials that record the process of its creation when practical. It collects individual projects as well as career length archives.

  • Activism and Justice. The Archive collects documentary materials related to activism and justice, with a special interest in civil rights and incarceration.
  • Emergent Documentary Practices. Documentary is not a static discipline, and the Archive seeks to grow collections that engage in reflection of the documentary discipline, process, and critique.
  • Faith Communities . The Archive houses several collections dedicated to exploring faith communities. Collections focus on underrepresented communities.
  • Human Environmental Impacts. The Archive collections work related to the environment, with a specific interest in the human impact and environmental justice and racism.
  • Labor and Work. Building on strong labor collections in the Rubenstein, the Archive of Documentary Arts seeks to add a visual history to the labor movement in the United States, with a particular focus on work in and around unions.
  • Lives of Marginalized Communities. The Archive works with creators from across different communities to collect and preserve stories from within. Special attention is given to areas of race, gender identity, and citizenship.
  • War on Camera. With a focus on U.S. military presence at home and abroad, the Archive collects representations of war and conflict, as well as the preparations and impact. Special attention is given to the role of the camera in making visible, and participating in, the creation of nationalism, anti-nationalism, and memory.


The Archive collects documentary work across many formats including film, photography, audio and writing. These may take the form of digital video and audio, analog film, photographic prints, photobooks, zines, as well as organizational records, and documentary text.

Material Not Sought

To best concentrate our resources, the Archive is currently not seeking bodies of work that are a survey of a place or time, or materials primarily created through the product of travel outside of the U.S. The Archive is also less active in collecting predetermined collections, such as groupings of cabinet cards.