The collection contains exhibition files from the museum's early exhibitions, from 1962 through early 1985. This first grouping was arranged as a set, with material from multiple offices arranged in one chronological order. As the staff of the museum was significantly smaller at this time, it is likely that the files were arranged in this way for simplicity as well as to prevent duplication in multiple offices. It is also likely that it was arranged by professional secretaries, because all of the file headings were consistent. After this set of files, the exhibition material tends to be divided by office (generally director's, curatorial, and registration). With the advent of computers, files continued to spread across offices and media. It is possible that this set of files was arranged and stored away during the 1984 move to the 55th Street carriage house.
The files contains mostly correspondence; loan forms; object, installation, and event photography; printed matter; publicity; and material related to catalog publication. The files are arranged first with a general file, which often includes printed matter, a checklist, curatorial contracts, and other assorted one-offs. Following the general file for each exhibition, there are topical files arranged alphabetically.