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The Chicago History Museum’s Rights and Reproductions unit welcomes requests for reproductions of materials from the Museum’s vast and unique collection. It also provides licensing and permissions assistance to promote the use of our collection reproductions for a variety of personal, nonprofit, and commercial purposes, including research, home and retail decor; academic and commercial publications; television and film productions; exhibitions; promotional materials; merchandising, and more.

  • Image reproductions
  • Audiovisual reproductions
  • Architectural drawing reproductions
  • Photocopies
  • PhotoStore: Shop for high-quality prints and gifts!

Image Reproductions

  • License and download digital image files
  • Secure reproduction permissions (permissions-only requests)
  • Purchase high-quality prints and gifts
  • FAQs

License and download digital image files

We invite you to search or browse thousands of images from CHM’s collection and purchase and download digital files for personal, educational, commercial, and other categories of use. More images are being uploaded on a regular basis, so be sure to visit the site periodically for new collection-related imagery.

If you’re unable to find an image related to a certain topic, please contact us at [email protected]. Rights and Reproduction staff may be able to provide a reference image not available online or direct you to our Research Center staff for additional help. You can also visit CHM’s Research Center in person or hire a freelance researcher to view original printed material, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, architectural drawings and records, and assorted ephemera. Rights and Reproductions staff can also help guide you to research resources for the Museum collection: Architecture (models and fragments), Costume and Textile, Decorative and Industrial Arts, and Painting and Sculpture, including works on paper.

When requesting new photography, please reference the Image Reproduction Request Form to determine what information to include in your email. Please note that the Museum reserves the right to limit new photography based on the original material’s condition, storage location, size, copyright status, and other factors.

Purchase high-quality prints and gifts 

For high-quality prints and gifts featuring premium images from CHM’s collection, please browse our online PhotoStore.

Permission-only requests

If you already have the image(s) you require for an anticipated use, please be advised that you may still be required to secure a license to reproduce or distribute this content. If this is the case, please email [email protected] to obtain a quote for the appropriate usage license. In your email, please provide as much detail as possible regarding your proposed usage, along with the image number(s), if known.

FAQs

How much do image reproductions and/or permissions cost?

Although we are happy to provide you with a quote of our fees after we receive your inquiry, you may also refer to our Fee Schedule to determine your fees beforehand. Please note that rush orders and requests for new photography of items from our Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Industrial Arts, Architecture, and Paintings and Sculpture collection are subject to an additional fee.

Why does the Museum charge reproduction and/or permission fees?

Charging fees for reproductions helps defray the cost of ongoing digitization activity, rights and reproductions customer service, and other critical Museum operations.

How long does the process take?

We do our best to deliver digital files within a week of receipt of payment (although during high-volume periods, we may require more time). If your deadline is sooner, you may request rush services for an additional fee. Please note that new photography of objects from our Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Industrial Arts, Architecture, and Paintings and Sculptures collections require additional turnaround time.

Does the Museum own copyright for its collections?

The Museum does own copyright for much of its collection. However, the Museum does not own copyright to all materials in our collection. Where we do not own copyright, our Rights and Reproductions staff will be glad to provide any relevant information we may have in order for you to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

What if I have additional questions?

We’re happy to discuss your project or answer any questions you may have. The most efficient way to contact us is via e-mail at [email protected]. We will do our best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. Our average response time is one to three business days.

Audiovisual Reproductions

For reproductions of audiovisual materials (sound recordings, film, and video):

Where can I search for audiovisual materials?

Although much of our audiovisual collection is not digitized, you can access catalog records for these materials via ARCHIE, CHM’s online catalog. Part of our Studs Terkel collection has been digitized and is available online at the Studs Terkel Radio Archive.

How can I request a reproduction and/or permission to use it in my project?

Please email [email protected] with details regarding your request. You can reference our Audiovisual Reproduction Request Form to determine what information to include in your email.

How much does a reproduction and/or permissions cost?

Fees for audiovisual reproductions vary according to the original format and length. Once we receive your request, we can provide you with a quote. Depending on the format, we may need to send the materials out for digitization by a reputable vendor.

How long does the process take?

Turnaround time varies according to several factors. We can provide a better estimate once we receive the details of your request.

Questions?

We’re happy to discuss your project or answer any questions you may have. The most efficient way to contact us is via e-mail at [email protected]. We will do our best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. Our average response time is one to three business days.

Architectural Drawing Reproductions

For digital reproductions of oversized architectural plans and drawings:

Where do I search for architectural drawings or plans?

Catalog records for a portion of materials from our Architecture collection can be accessed via ARCHIE, CHM’s online catalog. Please contact our Research Center staff at [email protected] to inquire about materials that may not be reflected in the online catalog.

How can I request a reproduction?

You can visit CHM’s Research Center in person to view the materials and request a reproduction. Please contact [email protected] before you visit in order to ensure that the materials are onsite and available for viewing, as an advance appointment is required to view portions of the Architecture collection depending upon the specific category of material.

How much do reproductions cost?

Non-profit organizations pay $30 for the first sheet and $15 for each additional sheet. For-profit organizations pay $60 for the first sheet and $30 for each additional sheet.

How long does the process take?

Turnaround time for reproductions of architectural drawings is approximately one to two weeks. Some drawings are stored offsite and may take more time to retrieve.

Questions?

We’re happy to discuss your project or answer any questions you may have. The most efficient way to contact us is via e-mail at [email protected]. We will do our best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. Our average response time is one to three business days.

Photocopies

Photocopy requests for black-and-white paper photocopies of materials from our Prints and Photographs, Archives and Manuscripts, Architecture, and Library collections for personal or research use are handled by our Research Center staff. Please visit the Research Center’s page for more information, or email [email protected].

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