The Public Design Commission maintains an archive of projects reviewed by the Commission since 1902, documenting more than 7000 sites throughout New York City and providing a unique view into the history of the City’s public works. Containing original documents, drawings, photographs, and architectural plans, the Archive informs the Commission’s review of current projects and provides a valuable resource to researchers. In addition, the Archive holds special collections that were acquired by Commission members and staff. These photographs, postcards, letters, books, and artifacts provide additional insight into the history of the public spaces and buildings of New York City.

Art Commission Meeting Minutes, 1898. Photograph by Corey William Schneider, New York Adventure Club.


The Design Commission Archive tour includes a discussion of the archive’s function and mission, a tour of the facility, and a discussion of archival materials, including architectural drawings, photographs, and original project applications and correspondence. Learn more about the Archive.

Reservation tours of the archive are offered every other month. Tours are limited to 20 individuals and reservations must be made in advance. The next tour date is listed below.

  • Thursday, July 26th at 6:00 pm
  • Thursday, September 13th at 6:00 pm
  • Thursday, November 8th at 6:00 pm

Make a reservation.

Special Group Tours may be offered upon request on weekdays between 5:00pm and 6:30pm. All group requests require one month's notice in advance of the tour date and are subject to the availability of staff.

Request a Group Tour.