Information for Researchers

Research Visitor Policy

A research visitor is defined as an individual, not affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, who comes for a supervised visit to examine a specific object or group of objects. Research visitors must be supervised at all times. Research visitors may have one or more visits subject to staff availability and their research needs. Affiliated fellows and interns are subject to the same supervision.

The Curator, Collections Specialist, or other designated staff member, makes arrangements for research visits and alerts the other staff members verbally and by adding the visits to the shared calendar. They are responsible for escorting the visitor to and from the collection space and supervising the visit. 


To inquire about an object in the collection, or to schedule a research visit please contact:

Image Requests

To request permission to use an image of an object in the Work and Industry Collection, please see our Rights and Reproductions page.


  • Upon arrival, the designated staff member will meet the visitor and the visitor must check in at the security desk at the Southeast entrance of the building located off Madison Dr. and 12th St. NW.
  • Research visitors need a staff escort to move through the building. A staff member must be present with them at all times.  

Research visitors are expected to follow the rules of Work and Industry Collections as follows:

  •  In compliance with Federal mandates in government offices, all research visitors must be able to show proof of vaccination for COVID-19.
  •  Upon arrival, the designated staff member will meet the visitor and the visitor must check in at the security desk at the Southeast entrance of the building located off Madison Dr. and 12th St. NW.
  •  Visitors must present a photo ID upon arrival, which will be recorded examined by security.
  •  No chewing gum, food, or drink of any kind is allowed within the collection space or in any space where an object is present.
  •  Visitors may not bring personal items or objects for comparison into the research room.
  •  Coats, bags and personal items are to be left in the designated office space. 
  •  All research and viewing of collections objects must be done in the designated area. 
  •  Ink pens are prohibited. Only pencils are permitted for note taking near the object(s).  
  •  A staff member must be present with the object(s) at all times. Unsupervised use of the collections is not permitted.
  •  Individuals requesting access to the collection must have a legitimate research purpose for using the collection, demonstrate a willingness to comply with collections procedures and security requirements, and be able to complete their work during the designated hours.
  • General browsing of the collection is not permitted. A complete list of objects or types of objects must be provided to Museum staff before the visit. During a research visit, staff may not be able to provide access to objects not requested in advance.
  • Gloves are available for handling most types of objects. Paper objects do not require gloves, but they are available.
  • The use of personal cameras is allowed. However, photos may not be taken of doorways or security features within the collections spaces.
  • Approvals for use of photos taken during research for publications and other purposes must be cleared with the Smithsonian Institution.
  • All other personal equipment must be approved by a staff member before it can be used. 
  • Collections documentation is provided without warranties as to its accuracy or completeness, and researchers will assume any and all risk in their use of this information. 
  • It is expected that all researchers who make use of the collection will adhere to any legal and ethical requirements imposed by the Smithsonian Institution, and that they will operate in accordance with the generally accepted ethical standards of the field in which they are working.