Birmingham Museum of Art's Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Library

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 1 comments

Dubbed "the secret library" by the Black & White City Paper, the Clarence B. Hanson Library located in the Birmingham Museum of Art is a great resource for art historical research. While you may not take the books home with you, they have some resources that UAB's Sterne Library does not have. They are particularly great for researching the library's own works. The registrar of the BMA keeps a bibliographical record of each work, which is available to the public, and the library usually has a copy of each work in the bibliographical records. In short, you can find every resource for works of art owned by the BMA in this library. The following is more information from the library's homepage:

Open to the public Wednesdays 1-4 and by appointment.

Located on the first floor of the Museum, the Hanson Library is one of the most comprehensive art research libraries in the southeastern United States. Library holdings include over 35,000 items focusing on objects and styles in the Museum's permanent collection and traveling exhibitions. The Library holds a broad range of research materials including general art reference works, auction catalogues, artists' files, periodicals, indexes, 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.

Clarence Bloodworth Hanson, Jr. (1908-1983) was publisher of The Birmingham News and a Birmingham Museum of Art Board member 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 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. A photocopier is available.

To use the Library's full resources, scheduling an appointment is strongly advised. Please call 205.254.2565 x3944 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to make an appointment.

UAB ContentDM Image Search Tutorial in 10 Steps

With research papers and presentations just around the corner, we thought it would be helpful to provide a tutorial on how to use UAB's online slide library called ContentDM. It is accessible through the Sterne Library website with your BlazerID. Once you understand the steps, you can create your own personal folders to save images. This tutorial will show you how to search for and download images from the database. Follow the red boxes in pictures below to find the items on which to click. You may click on any of the images for a larger view of each step.

-Step 1: Go to the Sterne Library homepage and click the link to the UAB Digital Collections.
-Step 2: From the UAB Digital Collections site, click the link to the Art History Collection. This will take you to the front page of ContentDM.
-Step 3: Here is where access to the database gets strange, but if you follow these steps it will be easy. The picture below is what the page looks like when you arrive. As you can see, the images do not show up yet and instead have a "restricted file" label. Click on any of the images listed. For this example, the first image was chosen but any will work.

-Step 4: Once you are on the information page for the image you clicked on, click on the link to the right of "Rights." This will take you to the sign-in page for the database so that you may view and download the images.

-Step 5: At the sign-in page, enter your BlazerID and password, then click "To the resource."

-Step 6: Now you are signed into the database. As you can see, the same default images are on the homepage. The difference is that you can see the images now that you are logged in. Click the "advanced search" link at the top of the page.

-Step 7: Once on the advanced search page, make sure that only the "art history" box near the bottom is checked off. This way your search will only consist of images. Type the criteria you wish to find in the search box and click the "search" button. For this example, we used the search keyword "warhol."

-Step 8: All of the images that match your search criteria will show up on the results page. Scroll through to find the one you need. If there too little or too few results, alter your search criteria until you find the image that you seek. The slide library is constantly adding new images so keep in mind that while the database has thousands of images, it might not have the one that you need. Once you find the correct image, click the title to go to the image's information page. For this example, we chose the first one listed.

-Step 9: Once on the item's information page, click the link to the right of "Full resolution." This will bring up the image in its full high-resolution quality. All of the files are JPEGs.

-Step 10: You are just about done! When the image has finished loading, right-click on the image and select "save image as..." or similar, depending on which internet browser you are using (Mozilla Firefox was used for these examples). Pick a place to save your image and you are done!