NEWS   ·  December 5, 2019

Walk Upstairs to MOPA’s Library to Read About A Hundred Years of Photography


  • Collection includes rare video in VHS format that visitors can watch at the Museum of Photographic Arts 


The Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library hold open hours Wednesday and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. It holds nearly 23,000 items


The little squared TV at MOPA’s library plays the type of video that can’t be streamed. The type that must be rewound after watching to ensure its next viewer has it easy. 

Named the Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library, MOPA’s library holds nearly 23,000 items. That includes books, but also rare access to the legacy of renowned photographers in archived newspaper clips or unique video such as talk show clips from the 80s and 90s or rare recordings with artists who visited the museum. For example, this lecture by Robert ParkeHarrison where he greets audiences saying “I feel especially at home here with you under the stars,” referencing the roof at MOPA’s Joan & Irwin Jacobs Theater.

The mission of the Museum of Photographic Arts is to present, collect and preserve photography, film and video. MOPA’s library is a serene room meant for further reading, which is located in MOPA’s second floor. Learn downstairs in the galleries. Come upstairs to satisfy your curiosity at the library.

The Stories They Tell artists at the library 


William Klein, Kids and Baseball Cards, New York, 1954, gelatin silver print. Collection of the Museum of Photographic Arts. Museum purchase. © William Klein.


The Stories They Tell: A Hundred Years of Photography looks at 100 years of the medium from the 1920s to today. MOPA Executive Director and Chief Curator Deborah Klochko selected 33 photographers to represent the 10 decades— photography is actually 180 years old. 

“The history of photography portrayed in this exhibit is fascinating because it captures the art form at so many moments in time,” Klochko said.

At MOPA’s library, the public can read — and watch — additional information about each artist. Among other holdings, those relevant to The Stories They Tell include (by artist):

Ruth Thorne-Thomsen, Liberty Head, Illinois, 1978, gelatin silver print. Collection of Museum of Photographic Arts. Gift of Joyce and Ted Strauss. © Ruth Thorne-Thomsen.


Through February 2020 at MOPA, The Stories They Tell seeks to provide a vital part of collecting: Sharing the work and the stories that each piece holds. By seeing the art and not just storing it, MOPA allows visitors to learn about the makers, their influences and motivations.

“I will enjoy learning what the public sees when they look at these historical artifacts, and look forward to learning about audience favorites,” Klochko said.

The Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library hold open hours Wednesday and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment outside open hours or to view special collection holdings, please contact

Financial support for The Stories They Tell was provided by The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation; the City of San Diego, Commission for Arts and Culture; the Gardner Bilingual Fund; and the VISION 20/20: Exhibition Fund. For sponsorship or underwriting opportunities on this or upcoming exhibitions contact a member of the Development Team at or 619-238-7559 x300.


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