The Archives Center provides access to the collections regardless of ability to travel to Washington, D.C. Research can be done either in-person or remotely. For information about accessing collection materials from a distance and obtain responses to specific inquiries contact the Archives Center. Information about duplications and use permissions can be found here: Rights and Reproductions.
Visit the Archives Center
Archives Center Reference Room, National Museum of American History
Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Closed: Fridays and Federal Holidays
Building 19, Garber Facility, Suitland, Maryland
Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
(First full week of every month only)
Closed: Fridays and Federal Holidays
Appointments are required. All appointments must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
- To request an appointment send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please be as specific as possible about your research topic and/or the collections you hope to use. To learn about the collections search the Smithsonian's on-line cataloguing system SIRIS before contacting the Archives Center to schedule an appointment.
Research at the Archives Center Reading Room, National Museum of American History (Monday through Thursday)
National Museum of American History
14th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20560-0601
Researchers should enter the National Museum of American History through the Constitution Avenue doors. Non-Smithsonian researchers must obtain a temporary visitors badge and be escorted by an Archives Center staff member. The security officer will issue the badge and call the Archives Center at 202-633-3270
Before You Come
Confirm the Archives Center has the materials you need:
- Search SIRIS, the Smithsonian Institution’s on-line catalogue.
- Send an email to email@example.com or call (202-633-3270) to consult with an archivist and to make an appointment. Email is preferred.
- Make separate arrangements with the curatorial staff to do research in the Museum's artifact collections.
- Complete the Archives Center registration form.
- First-time researchers must view a four-minute orientation powerpoint (with sound) when they arrive at the Archives Center or Play it now » (74 MB file).
- Laptops and cameras are allowed in the reference room.
- Folders and notebooks may not be taken into the reference room. Pencils and paper for note taking are provided.
- Consult with the reference archivist if you need to bring notes into the reference room.
- To request materials complete the container form provided.
- Consult with the reference archivist if you find fragile, torn or damaged documents.
- Photocopying is self-serve using the copiers in the reference room. Copies cost $.50/page (Ten free pages each fiscal year).
- Personal scanners are not allowed. The reference room staff can provide information on how to obtain scans.
- Inform the reference archivist if you need to leave the reading room for any reason.
Before You Leave for the Day
- Pay the reference archivist for your photocopies; receipts are provided. The Archives Center accepts cash, checks, and credit cards.
- Turn in your container form and check out with the reference archivist.
Research at Building 19, Garber Facility, Suitland Maryland (Monday through Thursday, the first full week each month only)
3904 Old Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746
Getting to Building 19, Garber Facility
There are three ways to reach the Garber Facility, located in Suitland, Maryland, approximately six miles southeast of the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall.
• Take the Smithsonian's free hourly shuttle bus service between the Mall and Garber. The shuttle stops on the Mall side (Madison Drive) of the National Museum of American History (NMAH) on the hour and arrives at Garber about 30 minutes later. All non-Smithsonian researchers must have a shuttle pass. Contact the Archives Center for specific instructions for taking the shuttle and to arrange for a shuttle pass.
• Drive to the facility: Free parking is available. For more details contact the Archives Center.
• Take public transportation: Available via Metrorail (green line); the Garber Facility is a 10-15 minute walk from the Suitland Station. For more details see www.wmata.com
Please Note: The Archives Center's reading room in Building 19 is more than a quarter of a mile walk from the entrance to the Garber facility. Comfortable shoes are recommended.
- Please inform the staff if you need assistance reaching Building 19 when scheduling an appointment .
- Researchers may bring computers and use cameras to take digital notes. There is NO wifi available.
- A copier is available for self-service photocopying. Copies are $.50/page (10 free copies a year). Payment by check or credit card only.
- Researchers will be required to break from 12:00 to 1:00. Researchers should bring lunch and/or snacks. A refrigerator and microwave are available for use in Building 19.