The main functions carried out by the Accademia di Brera - as a school and institution - including training, promotion of art and artists, conservation and management of heritage, restoration, safeguarding of monuments, control of public ornamental design, which have led to a vast archive, forging an essential tool for the study of Lombard and Italian art over the last two hundred years, the transformation and evolution of Milan and the rise of its main museums. The Historical archive preserves documentation from 1776 right through to the 1970’s, an interruption that underlines the beginning of a new phase in which the training and educational model moved towards the university one. Even though it is made up of 2451 folders and 595 registers (of which 1761 and 492, respectively, are deposited in the Accademia Library), the archive has a number of omissions in the oldest part (1776-1802) which includes only the lists of students and a cluster of files of the Administrator Bianconi,  but which can be  fully integrated with records held in the Archive of the Stato di Milano (Fondo Studi). Between the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the 1900’s the progressive loss of the functions of conservation, management and protection of heritage - in particular the separation of the Museo Patrio, the Pinacoteca, the first unit of the Modern Art Gallery of modern art and the rise of Supervisory bodies determined the spin-off of some of the documentation, into the Civic Museums archives of Castello Sforzesco and the Supervision board of Brera.

The historical Archive, currently housed in the gallery area of the Library and fitted out with a digital inventory ARCHIMISTA (available on site), is also accessible to external students upon justified request, by writing to for an appointment.