Museum Archives Policies

Information for Researchers

Our Archives and Library staff welcome your inquiries relating to all aspects of the history of the Field Museum.

Please be as specific as possible when requesting information (e.g. "Please send me the name of the first anthropology staff member to work in Africa.") as limited staff time prevents us from answering broad research questions (e.g. "Please send me information about the history of the anthropology staff").

We answer reference requests in the order in which we receive them. Internal research requests from Field Museum Staff members take precedence and hence there may be a delay in the fulfillment of your request.

Selected collection indexes and finding aids of the Archives' holdings are available.

Please familiarize yourself with the following terms of access:

  • The institutional Archives is open to all researchers.
  • For information about the Archives' holdings contact the Archives directly at 312.665.7885.
  • Inquiries by phone, fax, mail and e-mail are welcome.
  • Patrons seeking to visit the Archives must have an appointment.
  • Initial appointments are generally made between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
  • The Field Museum Archives is located in a non-public area. Access is restricted and controlled by Field Museum Security Staff. A scheduled appointment is mandatory for all Archives patrons.

Archives Use Guidelines

  • The Field Museum Library and Archives do not charge a fee for use of the collection.
  • Archival material is non-circulating and retrieved by archives staff for patron use only in the Library Reading Room, or other areas authorized by the Archivist, and under the supervision of library staff.
  • Some records are available only with advance notice and approval.
  • The following materials are restricted from use:
    • Unprocessed materials
    • Donations for which the donor has indicated restrictions
  • We restrict the use of some records because of fragility, special format problems, or proprietary rights.
  • Material delivered must be recorded on the "Archives Use Record," and you will be asked to sign it to accept responsibility for returning all the contents in the same condition they were delivered to you.
  • Service and reproduction fees may apply for any reviewed and approved reference copy requests.
  • Scanning or taking digital photographs of archive materials requires permission from the Archivist, and may be denied if copying will either damage or degrade the material, or if donor, acquisition or legal restrictions prohibit reproduction. Please see our Digital Camera Use Guidelines at the bottom of this page.