Still Pictures

Visit the Still Pictures Research Room in College Park, Maryland

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The Still Picture Research Room

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

About Us

The Still Picture Branch appraises, processes, preserves and provides access to historically valuable and permanent photographs and graphic materials created by the Federal Government. The holdings of the Still Picture Branch at the National Archives and Records Administration consist of over 4,000 distinct photographic and poster series and approximately 390 donated record series which include approximately 14 million analog photographs (prints, negatives, slides and transparencies), 3 million digital photographs (TIFF, JPEG, PNG and DNG) and 50,000 large format panoramas, posters and other graphic works.


Several significant series of photographs are available in digital form, both for viewing and download, in the National Archives Catalog. As the Still Picture Branch continues to digitize more of our analog holdings, these will also be made available in the Catalog. To view all of the digitized material within the Still Picture Branch, view this search in our online Catalog. After accessing the catalog search, Researchers can narrow their 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 view the Catalog Search Tips page.  On our website you can also find a listing of each Record Group and its location.

Visit Us

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Black children playing leap frog in a Harlem street. Local Identifier: 306-NT-171-611c; National Archives Identifier: 541880

Still Pictures Research Room, 5th Floor
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Phone: 301-837-0561
Fax: 301-837-3621

Research Room Appointments Up to September 30, 2024: Eventbrite

Research Room Appointments After September 30, 2024: National Archives DC-Area Research Appointments Page


Research Room Hours
Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET
In person reference consultation hours, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET
Email if you have virtual consultation or appointment questions.


Records Retrieved from Stacks
Records will be pulled on a continuous basis. 
To inquire about the availability of advanced pulls, please contact

Please note: Items requested from cold storage require an acclimation period before being served in the research room. Please speak with a consultant regarding the acclimation period for any records you are requesting from cold storage.

Contact Us

Still Picture Research Room, 5th Floor
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740
Research Room Appointment: Eventbrite 

Additional Resources for Still Photographs

In addition to the holdings of the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives and Records Administration, many Government photographs are located in the holdings of their respective Federal Agencies prior to disposition to NARA. Included below is a select list of alternative locations to search for still photographs outside of the Still Picture Branch.

Textual Records in the Washington, D.C. Area: Photographs can often be found interfiled among Textual Records. For example, if photographs are attached to a specific report, those photographs will not be separated. 

List of NARA Facilities: Many regional facilities have still photographs among their holdings if they were originally transferred with region-specific records. Researchers should consult facilities within their region of interest.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: Many photographs from various sources can be found at the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.

State Archives: Local photographic records can be found through each respective State Archives. 

Defense Media Activity: For recent military photographs, Researchers should consult the holdings of the Defense Media Activity (DMA).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): While the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives and Records Administration holds a variety of permanent photographs transferred by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Researchers may also want to consult NASA’s photographic galleries and resources.

NASA Image Galleries

NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) CREST Photographic Captions for 263-CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency provides detailed captions on their website for the series of records 263-CIA: Ground Photography Master Files, 1947 - 2000, which is located within the holdings of the Still Picture Branch. Researchers should note that there are gaps within the photographic records.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Photography Services: On their website, the Photography Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides access to a variety of photographs.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Media Library: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a searchable database of their multimedia available through their website.