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Library's History

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is the oldest art school in Boston, but its library is even older than the College itself.

In 1871 the Massachusetts Board of Education created a "traveling museum." Plaster casts, drawings, paintings, and art books were transported by horse-drawn wagons to towns across the state. The purpose was to spread art knowledge throughout the citizenry. It was the first collection of visual reference materials in the United States created to support public art education.

The rigors of travel damaged the collection. Within a year the need for its safe storage became an arguing point for founding a state art school. Although we can't be certain if this was a deciding factor, in 1873 the legislature did create Massachusetts Normal Art School (now called Massachusetts College of Art and Design), and the traveling collection did indeed come to rest under its roof.

As MassArt developed, and the field of art education evolved, the collection also grew and developed: more books were acquired, and then journals, slides, films, videos, and digital images. In 1988, the library was named for the late Morton R. Godine, a Vice President and Trustee of the College.

Mission Statement

Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Morton R. Godine Library is committed to upholding the mission of the College through free and open access to the library’s collections and services.  We connect the MassArt community and outside researchers to information that enhances the curriculum of the college and inspires curiosity and creativity.  Our exceptional collections, dedicated staff, and welcoming space enrich MassArt.



Accessibility - We believe that the library’s collections serve the MassArt community, as well as the public. We use universal design principles to create virtual and physical spaces that welcome all users.


Affordability - We believe that the library plays an important role in lowering the financial burden on students and helping ensure their academic success.


Diversity - We believe that the library is not a neutral space and we actively use our collections and services to  uplift artists, designers and scholars who have been historically marginalized.


Transformation - We believe that art and design have the power to transform our communities and the world. We provide MassArt students with fundamental skills to help them excel in their pursuits.