Research Room Guidance
Who can use the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)?
Anyone can use the National Archives. You do not need to be an American citizen, present credentials, or have a letter of recommendation. You are required to provide valid identification.
Protecting the Records
When working with records, be responsible and safeguard their condition. Records may be served on a cart and contained in one or more boxes. Only open one box, container, or bound volume at a time. If the records are in folders, only remove and open one folder from a box at a time.
The records must be kept in the same order in which they appear within a box, container, or folder. If records appear to be out of order, do not rearrange the records yourself. Alert the staff for assistance.
Take care to avoid accidental damage to the documents. Keep records flat and on the table, do not bend or fold records. Never place your notepaper on top of a document you are studying or use your pencil as a pointer.
When working with still or motion picture records, wear gloves, provided by staff to protect the records.
Etiquette and Courtesy
Keep good notes concerning the records you consult. Your research may utilize multiple record groups, donated collections, record series, entry numbers, local identifiers, filing codes, and other points of reference. Keeping track of the steps taken to locate records is a researcher's responsibility. Research room staff may be able to provide limited assistance if necessary.
Cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices should be set to silent. Research room staff may ask you to silence your devices if they become disruptive. Exit the research room to receive or make calls, participate in video conferences, or to engage in other potentially disruptive activities.
Personal Items and Equipment - What's Allowed?
Personal items are limited inside NARA research rooms. Certain personal items, materials, and equipment may pose a risk to records. Explore our Research Room Rules page for an in-depth listing of rules pertaining to our research rooms. Explore our quick reference list of what items are allowed and not allowed in NARA research rooms by clicking the links below:
|Not Allowed **
*All equipment must be removed from cases and the cases stored in lockers
**Any non-government owned equipment is prohibited in the classified research rooms
*** Please Note:
What questions do people have about In Person Research?
- How far in advance does one have to schedule a research visit to Archives 1?
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- How do I schedule a visit to the National Archives?
- Question about doing research at the National Archives in College Park