Begun in 1973, the MIA’s collection of photographs spans the history of photography from the 1860s to the present. Representing more than 800 photographers and 11,500 works of art, the collection has outstanding examples of twentieth-century American photography, with particular depth in the genres of documentary photography, photojournalism, and pictorialism. Since 2008, the museum has focused on expanding its holdings of contemporary photography and new media from all countries. This initiative increases the scope and relevance of the photography collection and enhances its links to the MIA’s diverse, global holdings.

The Department of Photography & New Media continues to thrive thanks to the active, generous support of loyal donors. The earliest acquisitions were funded by Kate Butler and Hall James Peterson. Their initiative inspired others, including Harry Drake, Martin Weinstein, and Fred and Ellen Wells. More recently, the creation of the Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison Fund and the establishment of the Harrison Photography Galleries (364 & 365) have given the department enormous momentum. These superb new galleries are devoted to presenting the permanent collection. In addition, Linda and Lawrence Perlman established the Perlman Gallery (262), which is dedicated to featuring contemporary photography and is located in the MIA’s Target Wing, hosting New Pictures, a semi-annual series highlighting emerging photographers from around the world. You, too, can contribute to and enjoy special access to exhibitions and events by joining the Photography & New Media Affinity Group.

Over the years, the Department of Photography & New Media has been committed to using its collection for educational purposes, and the MIA now serves as a major resource for the five-state region. Numerous exhibitions drawn from the collection have traveled to other institutions, and students and teachers frequently visit the galleries and Photography Study Room to learn from the collection firsthand. Click on the photograph below to browse the collection and prepare for your next visit to the MIA.

Join the Photography and New Media Affinity Group
As a member of the Photography and New Media Affinity Group you will:
  • » Receive invitations to lectures and events
  • » Get the inside scoop on departmental news and acquisitions
  • » Enjoy special opportunities to socialize with others who have similar passions