We are open | Plan your safe visit more

The Research Center is reopening on Tuesday, March 9.

Reservations can be made now for March 9–31. To best serve our Research Center patrons, we will make reservations available one month at a time. Reservations will be made available the week before the start of a new month.

Research Center tables at CHM

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.

Please note: Archives, manuscripts, maps, with the exception of some small collections, are unavailable to researchers from December 24, 2020, through January 1, 2022. The Research Center will remain open. Expand to learn more.

In 2021, the Chicago History Museum is renovating the underground storage facility as well as the plaza and landscaping to establish the Richard M. and Shirley H. Jaffee History Trail. The storage facility houses the Museum’s 23,000 linear feet of archives and manuscripts. Renovations will upgrade the structural integrity of the space and modernize the interior.

The Research Center remains open (with in-person appointments available beginning March 9), and published material (books, pamphlets, ephemera collections) and prints and photographs are still available. Archives, manuscripts, and maps, with the exception of some small collections, are not available to researchers from December 24, 2020, through January 1, 2022 (estimated timeframe). We will not be able to supply photocopies, scans, or reproductions of this material during this period. Updates will be provided as the project progresses. Questions? Email [email protected]


Free. Visitors to the Research Center are asked to register in advance. We encourage you to email [email protected] before making a reservation to ensure that an on-site visit is best for your needs.

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Upon successfully registering, you will receive an email confirmation with an order number, which all Research Center visitors MUST have in order to enter.

Please note that the Research Center is observing reduced capacity to allow for safe social distancing among researchers and staff. Six (6) spots will be made available per day. Reservations need to be received at least 48 hours in advance.

Upon arrival, visitors will be asked to scan their ticket at the Front Desk and check oversized belongings in the Museum’s free coat check. The Research Center has free lockers available for bags and coats. Children under 6 will not be admitted.

Quick Links

Guide to the Research Center

An in-depth guide to the Chicago History Museum’s Research Center, including hours, access, policies, subject guides, and other useful resources.


ARCHIE Online Catalog

Search ARCHIE for information on the Museum’s holdings that are served through the Research Center. Materials described in ARCHIE include manuscripts; books and periodicals; and photographic materials. Please note that while this resource is extensive, it is not exhaustive.


Reopening March 9

Spring Hours
Tuesday–Friday: 12:00–3:30 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can visit the Research Center?

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. Children under 6 will not be admitted.

How do I page materials?

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. Material will not be paged after 2:30 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.

Can I make photocopies or take pictures?

Photocopying Fees
$.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.

What if I'm unable to visit the Research Center?

If you are unable to visit us in person, there are a number of options available:


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