Plan a research visit
Research can be initiated in person, by email, mail, or telephone. Please refrain from submitting requests in multiple formats.
We are committed to providing all researchers with outstanding customer service. Please help us better serve you by taking note of the following:
- Many of our records are stored off-site and require two business days advance notice to have them pulled and brought to our research room.
- To view original records in our research room, please email or call us in advance to schedule an appointment. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (817) 551-2051.
- For records located on-site, we do not pull original records for use in our research room after 2:00 p.m.
Our research rooms are open to the public from 9:00 - 4:00. Each National Archives location holds different records. To make the most efficient use of your time, please email, write, or telephone us in advance to make sure that the documents or the microfilm you want to see are at our location. Please note that several of our records have been digitized and are available on our partner sites and the National Archives Catalog.
When submitting an inquiry, include your contact information so that we can reach out to you in case more information is needed. All requests are answered in the order they are received, regardless of the method you use to communicate with us. While we have 10 business days for us to respond, we often are able to respond much sooner than that.
For us to be able to answer your questions properly, you should be able to tell us:
- the Federal connection to your topic;
- what agencies, offices, or individuals were involved and what time period you are interested in;
- and what kinds of records (textual, photographs, etc) you are looking for.
Rules and Regulations
- Obtaining a Researcher Card
- Renewing or Replacing Your Researcher Card
- Before You Enter the Research Room
- Inside the Research Room
- Tips for Handling Our Holdings
Before using our original archival holdings, every researcher must present a Researcher Card. No one under the age of 14 will be permitted in the Research Room. To obtain a Researcher Card, an applicant must:
- Show official identification that includes a photograph. Acceptable IDs include driver’s license, passport, and school and employment identification.
- Complete a short form giving name, address, telephone number, and a brief description of the proposed research topic.
- Review a short orientation binder emphasizing safe handling of records and explaining the most basic research procedures, responsibilities, and rules.
- New researchers should plan for a total of 15-20 minutes to complete the registration process.
Your Researcher Card must be presented during each research visit.
- Your Researcher Card is valid for one year.
- You may renew your card at our location.
- If you forget or lose your Researcher Card, talk to the staff when you arrive on your next planned research visit.
- You must leave personal belongings in free, secure lockers. This includes bags, carrying cases, briefcases, purses, books, notebooks, and notepads.
- We will provide notepaper and pencils.
- Pens and highlighters are not allowed, nor are pressure sensitive notes, such as Post Its.
- Pre-written notes must be on loose paper (not on a pad or in a notebook).
- Only paper, pencils, and laptop computers may be used for note taking.
- When you are using records in the Research Room, you can almost always make your own copies of both paper records and special media, such as photographs. Please talk with staff before beginning copy work. Our self-service copier is available for $0.25 per page (up to 11 x 17 inches) payable by credit card or check. At no charge it will also scan to your own USB thumb drive (we do not supply any thumb drives).
- Scanners must meet NARA requirements. We have one ScanSnap scanner available by reservation for use in the Textual Research room. Software must be downloaded onto your laptop prior to use. Click here for download instructions.
- Cameras may be used to photograph documents, but flash photography is prohibited.
- Eating, drinking, and smoking are not permitted in the Research Room.
- Cell phones should be set to silent. Step into the hallway to receive or make calls.
- View a full list of allowed and prohibited items here.
- You are responsible for safeguarding the condition of the records that have been brought to you.
- You may remove from a cart and open only one box or bound volume at a time.
- You may remove and open only one folder from a box at a time.
- The records should stay flat on the table at all times.
- The records must be kept in the same order in which they are given to you. If folders in a box or pages in a folder appear to be out of order, do not rearrange the records yourself. Alert the staff instead.
- Take care to avoid accidental damage to the documents. Never place your notepaper on top of a document you’re studying or use your pencil as a pointer.
- Keep good notes as to records consulted so that you can differentiate between multiple groups of records searched, and your steps can be retraced if necessary.