Welcome to the Research Center
The Research Center holds the printed material, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, architectural drawings, and assorted ephemera of the Chicago History Museum. Explore our Research Collections.
Free. Visitors to the Research Center are required to fill out a registration form at the Visitor Services Desk, show a photo ID, and check oversized belongings in the Museum’s coat check. The Research Center has free lockers available for bags and coats. Children under six will not be admitted.
Please note: The Research Center’s hours are different from the Museum’s.
January 3–May 27
Tuesday–Friday: 1:00–4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
Upcoming closing: The Research Center will be closed on Tuesday, July 4.
We are pleased to welcome authors; university and college teachers; independent scholars; photo researchers; members of the press; elementary and secondary school students; undergraduate and graduate students, including PhD candidates; architects; building developers; and family and house historians, among many others. The Research Center is also a popular destination for History Fair students.
Advance appointments are required for History Fair research (grades 6 to 12). To request a History Fair appointment, please fill out this online form. We regret that we cannot accept appointments by phone.
The majority of our collections are housed outside of the Research Center. Call slips are available on each table and should be filled out as completely as possible so that staff can retrieve the material. Paging stops at 3:30 p.m.
Some material, including color photographs, must be requested at least 48 hours in advance; a note in the catalog record will alert you to this type of restriction. Most of our material is fragile, so please respect the following policies: Pencils only. No food, drink, or gum.
Photocopies and camera use
$.25/page for History Fair students
Please note: Photocopies will not be made of city directories, newspapers, scrapbooks, maps, color photographs, and original photographs created prior to 1900. Depending on demand, photocopies may not be available for same-day pick up.
Camera Use Policy
Researchers may photograph most Research Center material. If you wish to use your camera, please notify a Research Center staff member upon arrival and plan to review and sign our Camera Use Policy before taking photographs.
The Research Center is open most Friday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon for researchers looking through large archival collections, large runs of microfilm, etc. During these hours, we cannot accommodate photo researchers. No additional materials can be retrieved, reference assistance provided, or photocopying until the Research Center reopens at 1:00 p.m. Appointments must be made in advance. To request a Friday morning appointment, e-mail [email protected].
What if I am unable to visit the Research Center?
We are pleased to provide a number of services for those who are unable to visit in person.
- Please explore the online research resources, including the Encyclopedia of Chicago and the image licensing portal.
- If you require remote research assistance, please contact us at [email protected] and allow several weeks for a reply.
- You may also wish to consider hiring a freelance researcher to conduct research on your behalf.