Still Pictures

Still Picture Branch Research Guidance

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The Still Picture Research Room

A view of the Still Picture Research Room in College Park, MD.

In addition to the resources on this page, the National Archives Catalog is the best place to start your search for Still Picture records. More than 2 million digitized and born-digital images from about 4,200 series are available to view in the National Archives Catalog; however, these represent only selections from the much larger volume of Still Picture holdings.

Several significant series of photographs are available in digital form, both for viewing and download, in the National Archives Catalog. To view all of the digitized material within the Still Picture Branch, view this search in our online CatalogAfter the search results appear, you can narrow your search criteria by selecting the fields in the left column on the page. For further information about searching Still Picture Branch holdings online, view our blog post titled “Searching the National Archives Catalog for Still Photographs.” Sample research topics and a listing of related records are available through the Still Picture Branch homepage. In addition, you may want to review the Catalog Search Tips page. On our website you can also find a listing of each Record Group and its location.

A series described in the National Archives Catalog might contain several items or several hundred thousand items, only a small percentage of which are searchable online by individual item. There are various search strategies that can help you navigate our large and growing catalog, including several published on our blog, the Unwritten Record.

If you need assistance with your research, you are welcome to contact us at, or to post your inquiry on History Hub. If inquiring about images found in the National Archives Catalog, please include the Local Identifier and National Archives Identifier (NAID) when you contact us. You are also welcome to download images from the National Archives Catalog.

If you are attempting to verify the source of an image outside of our Catalog that is credited to the National Archives, we may need to conduct a search of our holdings in order to locate the image. For more in-depth searches, we recommend you or your representative visit our facility. You are also welcome to contact an Independent Researcher Available for Hire.

Contact Us

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Uncle Sam Says, Garden to Cut Food Costs; Local Identifier: 287-P-A1.32:G16; National Archives Identifier: 5711623.

On-site Policy/Guidance

Researchers are welcome to visit our research room on the 5th floor of the National Archives building in College Park, Maryland, where you may examine our holdings and related finding aids. To make the most of your visit, we highly recommend searching the National Archives Catalog before you arrive. We also encourage you to consult Still Picture staff in advance about the availability of records and NARA-provided copying equipment, as well as any possible restrictions on the use of your own equipment.

Researchers at the National Archives are expected to follow the National Archives Research Room Rules. Due to the nature of Still Picture Branch holdings, researchers are expected to wear gloves when handling all records served in the research room. Gloves will be provided by National Archives staff. 

Records requested from cold storage require an acclimation period. Still Picture Branch staff will be able to provide additional information related to specific requests. If you are interested in records that are known to require an acclimation period, as indicated in the series description in the National Archives Catalog, you are encouraged to contact us in advance of your visit.

If you would like to schedule a Still Picture research room appointment, please visit, and you may email with any questions. If you are unable to visit for a complex or extensive research project, you may want to contact an Independent Researcher available for Hire.

Contact the Still Picture Branch at

Guidance on Equipment

Free-standing electrostatic copiers with a scanning function are available for researcher use. You must provide your own USB 2.0 flash drive to save the scan as a digital file. Alternatively, you may also create black-and-white or color electrostatic copies. Use of these copiers includes a small fee per copy. Researchers must add funds to their Researcher Card account prior to copying, by using the public access computers in the research complex.

The Still Picture Branch also provides courtesy scanners for the reproduction of photographic prints and negatives. Researchers must provide their own laptop and download the necessary software in order to operate the scanners. Use of the scanners depends on availability and is limited to one hour per researcher, which will be enforced as necessary.

You may also use your own camera, with or without copy stands. Stands are available for use in the room with no appointment necessary; however, a two-hour limit will be enforced as needed. The flash function of the camera must be disabled while copying, and copy stand lights should only remain lit for the duration of the exposure. When photographing 19th century prints, the copy stand lights must remain turned off.  Light tables are available to use when photographing transparent media.

Reference Copies

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Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Bryan Expert Canners in Their Community

Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Bryan, expert canners of fruits and vegetables in their Community. Local Identifier: 33-SC-15906c, National Archives Identifier: 5729293.

The Still Picture Branch does not currently provide reproduction services; however, resources permitting, we may be able to provide a limited number of lower quality preview scans. 

When inquiring about individual images, you will need to know: 
  • Record group number
  • Series
  • Box, folder, and/or divider designator where relevant
  • Unique item number/ Local Identifier
If inquiring about images found in the National Archives Catalog, researchers are encouraged to provide:
  • Local Identifier
  • National Archives Identifier (NAID)
Researchers are also welcome to contact an Independent Researcher Available for Hire for reproductions.


To Request Information about Records

For further information about the photographs and graphic works held in the Still Picture Branch at College Park, contact:

Mail: Still Picture Reference
Special Media Records Division
National Archives at College Park
Room 5360
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Telephone: 301-837-0561

Fax: 301-837-3621


Research Room Appointment:

If you would like to use an image from the Still Picture Branch holdings, please see our Copyright and Permissions page.