Since its founding, the Institute of Art History has been gathering and processing art-historical documentation. In 2006, a specialized department was established to fulfill three basic and interconnected tasks: conducting research in the field of art-historical sources, editing and making accessible its extensive collections and archives of European importance and providing public research service. As part of the institute's medium-term strategic plan, the department engages in the following research areas: Theory and Historiography of Art, critical editions of art-historical sources, Art-Historical Topography, History of Czech Heritage Conservation within the European Cultural Space and, through its centres, Epigraphic and Sepulchral Studies and Photography of the 19th and 20th Centuries. In addition to basic research, the department places great emphasis on applied research and outreach activities, while also working on tasks related to research infrastructure. It organizes conferences about written sources of art history and is responsible for publishing the Fontes historiae artium series.
The most important recent projects include Hledání provenience movitých kulturních statků zestátněných v roce 1945 občanům německé národnosti v severočeském regionu [Researching the Provenance of Moveable Heritage Confiscated in 1945 from German Nationals in the region of North Bohemia] and IDIHU – vývoj nástrojů a infrastruktury pro digital humanities [IDIHU – Developing Tools and Infrastructure for Digital Humanities (NAKI II, Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic), as well as activities of the Strategy AV21 program named Memory in the Digital Age. Department employees also take part in another NAKI II project, Gotické a raně renesanční umění ve východních Čechách. Výzkum, interpretace, prezentace.
The department of documentation houses two centres which implement their own projects: the Centre for Epigraphic and Sepulchral Studies and the Photographic Research Centre.
In 2009, the department added conservation studio, which currently participates in three NAKI II projects (Josef Sudek a fotografická dokumentace uměleckých děl, Stopy tvorby. Dědictví velkých sochařů první poloviny 20. století and Hledání provenience movitých kulturních statků zestátněných v roce 1945) while systematically processing collection items and preparing them for exhibitions and digitization.
The department cooperates with a number of Czech and international institutions such as currently the National Heritage Institute, National Film Archive, Faculty of Arts at Charles University, Faculty of Arts at MUNI, Faculty of Conservation at UPCE (further cooperation takes places through the department's centres).