The National Archives at Seattle

Frequently Asked Questions about the National Archives at Seattle

  1. Are you open to the public?

  2. Who can benefit from visiting the National Archives?

  3. What type of documents does the Regional Archives in Seattle hold?

  4. Are there computers available to the public at your facility?

  5. Can I bring my own copy equipment with me?

  6. Do you have wireless access for my laptop computer?

  7. Is there anyone there who can help me with my research project?

  8. Can your archivists do research for a fee?

  9. Are there any requirements for viewing original documents?

  10. Do records need to be requested by a certain time of day?

  11. Can I see original records on Saturday?

  12. Should I call in advance?

  13. What is the cost for making copies of original or microfilmed documents?


  1. Are you open to the public?

    Yes. We are open from 7:45 AM to 4:15 PM Monday through Friday (except for Federal holidays) and from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on the SECOND Saturday of each month.

  2. Who can benefit from visiting the National Archives?

    We assist historians, teachers, students, genealogists, journalists, government officials, the legal community, and anyone else who has any interest in, or need for, historical documents.

  3. What type of documents does the Regional Archives in Seattle hold?

    We hold 37,000 + cubic feet of original documents [one-of-a-kind] from Federal Agencies located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Montana. The records consist of correspondence, forms, maps, photographs, drawings, blueprints, lists, reports, and much more. Included are naturalization, census, military, land, immigration, Native American, and many other types of records. Our microfilm holdings (of over 75,000 rolls) contain copies of records created by Federal agencies located throughout the United States and U.S. consulates abroad.

  4. Are there computers available to the public at your facility?

    Our microfilm research room has seven public access computers with access to the internet, including the National Archives website plus free access to several subscription services, including Footnote.com and Ancestry.com.

  5. Can I bring my own copy equipment with me?

    Yes, with approval from the Regional Archives Director, you can use a laptop computer, flatbed scanner, or digital camera in the research room. You are required to leave your equipment case in a locker.

  6. Do you have wireless access for my laptop computer?

    No. However, there is internet access available on our public access computers.

  7. Is there anyone there who can help me with my research project?

    Archivists, archives specialists, and knowledgeable volunteers are here to help you in the research rooms with your research questions. You can reach us during our regular hours either in person, by telephone at 206-336-5115, or by e-mail at seattle.archives@nara.gov.

  8. Can your archivists do research for a fee?

    No. The archival reference staff will answer your questions and give direction for your own research but are not able to do your research for you. We can, however, make copies for you if you know exactly what you need. We do not charge fees for our reference assistance but there are fees for making copies of records. The NARA website provides a link to Independent Researchers Available for Hire that lists professional researchers who will perform research for a fee.

  9. Are there any requirements for viewing original documents?

    You will need a valid researcher card to look at original documents, which can be obtained by filling out an application form and providing us with a current photo ID that includes your correct address and other information. There is no such requirement for using microfilm or public access computers.

  10. Do records need to be requested by a certain time of day?

    Yes. Original records must be requested before 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

  11. Can I see original records on Saturday?

    As of November 2015, the National Archives at Seattle is no longer open on Saturdays. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  12. Should I call in advance?

    Yes, if you are planning to look at original records, it is a good idea to contact an archivist prior to your visit so we can better assist you with your research needs. For microfilm, if you have a particular publication that you would like to see, it is best to call ahead to see if we hold the actual roll of film.

  13. What is the cost for making copies of original or microfilmed documents?

    Please see the attached link for the NARA Reproduction Fee Schedule

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The National Archives at Seattle >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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