Copying in the Galleries

The Walters Art Museum welcomes artists and students of art to use its collections for study, inspiration, and enjoyment.

We encourage drawing and painting in our galleries while seeking to preserve and protect the collections for our current and future visitors. Painting and drawing are allowed in the permanent collections so long as views and paths for visitors are not obstructed. Copying may be restricted in special exhibitions due to contractual obligations with owners of borrowed works of art and at peak visitation hours, subject to the discretion of the Security department. The Walters conservation staff must approve in advance all equipment and materials that are not listed below.

Sketching: Sketching with dry medium such as pencils, charcoal and pastels on small- to medium-sized pads is permitted without prior approval, subject to security discretion.

Painting: Artists who wish to paint must contact the museum in advance to obtain the Walters Policy for Copying in the Galleries, and indicate acceptance of the stated conditions. The Acceptance of Conditions form must be completed, signed, and returned at least two (2) weeks in advance of visiting the museum.

Please contact [email protected] or call 410-547-9000, ext. 225, with any questions regarding what is permitted in the museum.


  1. The Acceptance of Conditions form must be completed and returned at least two (2) weeks in advance.
  2. Upon entering the museum with painting materials, the artist must present photo identification at the Information Desk on Level 1 of the Centre Street building. Materials and containers will be inspected by the security officer on duty.
  3. When selecting a copying position, works of art cannot be obscured from other visitors and traffic paths must remain clear. An artist may be asked to change his/her position if a security officer is concerned about the safety of visitors or works of art.
  4. Artists must stay at least three feet from artwork and may not touch any object or painting. Easels must be a minimum of four feet from all works of art. If painting, the artist must provide a canvas dropcloth large enough to protect the floor in his/her work area. Once set up, the artist may not move an easel, stool, or dropcloth to another place in the galleries without permission.
  5. No liquids or materials (including paints and brushes) are to be left unattended at any time. All materials must be handled in a safe manner to protect the visitors, works of art, and the building from accident, injury, or damage. All liquids must be in lidded containers and should not be accessible to other visitors. For the use of turps, etc., a small access hole can be made in a jar lid. There can be no transport of water or chemicals in open containers in the galleries. The use of sprays, fixatives, and varnishes in the galleries is prohibited.

Restrictions on Copying Original Works of Art

Any copy must differ by at least two (2) inches in height and width from the original artwork—there are no exceptions to this rule. No copy may exceed 36 inches in either dimension, regardless of the size of the original. If an original artist’s signature is copied it must be preceded by the words “copy after” and bear the copyist’s name and date.

Approved Materials

Generally, the following materials are approved: pencils, charcoal, watercolors, and pastels. Other materials such as acrylics, oil paint, turpentine, linseed oil, and non-toxic paint thinners are subject to prior approval on an individual basis.

Space Restrictions

For the safety of the art and visitors, the number of artists permitted to work in a gallery is limited and is at the discretion of the museum staff. While a tour or talk is being conducted in the gallery where an artist is painting, the artist is asked to move away. If their easel is blocking the view, the artist is asked to move the easel aside, bearing in mind the minimum distance between the easel and works of art.

Equipment Restrictions

  • Artists must provide their own (museum-approved) easel, stool, and drop cloth. These must be stable and not damaging to the gallery floor. Artists are responsible for removing these items from the museum when they leave. Artists wishing to bring an easel must secure advance approval from museum security. Contact [email protected] or call 410-547-9000, ext. 225.
  • Artists must arrange for outside disposal of chemical waste; disposal in museum sinks is not permitted. Brushes and equipment may not be cleaned on museum premises.

The Walters Art Museum reserves the right to revoke permission to draw or paint in the galleries at any time, for any reason.

Copying in the Galleries

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY