How to Read a Museum Label

Sample document courtesy of the Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY.

Download the original form as a PDF.

George Washington, Ezra Ames (1768–1836),
Oil on canvas, 1826, Gift of the Gallery of Fine Arts, 1900.5.2

• George Washington: Title of Painting, Print, Sculpture or Object
• Ezra Ames: Name of Artist or Maker
• (1768–1836): Birth and Death Dates of Artist or Maker
• Oil on canvas: Media, what material the artist used to make the painting,
print sculpture or object
• 1826: Year it was made
• Gift of the Gallery of Fine Arts: Donor Recognition, The person or
place who donated the painting, print, sculpture or object to the museum,
in this case the donor was the Gallery of Fine Arts
• 1900.5.2: Acquisition Number
1900 – The year the Museum received the object
5 – the number of the gift, in this case, the 5th gift in 1900
2 – There were least two objects in the gift, but there might have been more
125 Washington