Plan a Research Visit

Updated Research Room Operations

The Archives main research room is open for textual and photographic research Tuesday through Friday (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) by appointment only. NO WALK-IN VISITS WILL BE PERMITTED.

  • An appointment to visit the research room must be made at least 24 hours in advance. 
  • Appointments are for one individual; no groups will be permitted. 
  • Appointments will be confirmed after researchers provide a list of up to 18 specific boxes (including collection name and box number) requested for their first visit. 
  • Researchers can schedule appointment arrivals between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. To allow time for registration and orientation, we cannot accept new arrivals after 2 p.m.
  • Mask requirements are subject to change based on local COVID-19 metrics; consult with Reference staff for the latest guidance.
  • We encourage those who need access to a limited number of specified folders to consider taking advantage of our Digitization-on-Demand program.
  • The 2024 Federal Holidays and Research Room Closings Schedule can be found on

How to Schedule an Appointment

  • Appointments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to limited space in our research room, we suggest emailing as far in advance of your desired date as possible.
  • Those interested in on-site research must email We are not accepting appointment requests via phone at this time.
  • An archivist will work with you over email to discuss your project and suggest relevant holdings.
  • Each researcher must supply a list of up to 18 specifically-identified boxes (including collection name and box number) to be pulled before the first visit. If you do not send a box list of up to 18 specific boxes at least 24 hours before your first visit, you will not receive an appointment or be admitted to the research room.
  • After completely finishing with your first set of boxes, you can request additional sets of boxes on demand by filling out pull request slips in the research room until 2 p.m each day. You are not required to submit advance pull requests before any returning visits.
  • Researchers will review the National Archives Researcher Orientation prior to their arrival at the Library.
  • If your plans change, please contact the Archives staff to cancel or reschedule your appointment so that your reservation can be offered to another researcher.

When You Arrive

When you arrive, proceed to the front desk and check in with the security guard. The security guard will call the Archivist on Duty to confirm that you have scheduled an appointment. Once this is done, the guard will escort you to the Research Room. The Archivist on Duty will have you complete the necessary steps to receive or renew your researcher card. You’ll need to bring a photo identification (driver's license or passport, for example).

Once you're registered, you’ll store your belongings in a secure locker. We operate under a "clean research room" policy. 

Allowed in the research room:

  • Phones, tablets, and laptops (on 'silent' mode). 
  • Flat-bed scanners
  • Cameras (with flash turned off)
  • Pencils
  • Masks 

Not allowed in the research room:

  • Notebooks, notes, papers
  • Pens
  • Bags, backpacks, or laptop carriers
  • Coats or jackets
  • Food or drink, including gum
  • Light sources for photographing materials, including camera flash and overhead lighting
  • Scanners that apply pressure to materials, including wand and feeder scanners

Conducting Research

  • All researchers work in the main Research Room.
  • Researchers must request up to 18 boxes for their first pull; these boxes will be pulled and prepared for your use in advance of your first appointment. After returning their first set of boxes, researchers can submit additional pull requests on demand in the research room.
  • Carts will be kept at the researcher’s desk to assist in maintaining social distancing. 
  • The Archivist on Duty will provide instruction on working with original archival materials. Please note: if hand sanitizer is used, researchers must wash their hands before handling original materials.
  • An archivist will always be stationed in the Research Room to answer questions about policies and procedures; however, in-depth reference consultations about the archival holdings must be held virtually prior to the visit.
  • At this time, the self-service copier in the Research Room is not available for use.
  • Paper for taking notes will be available. Researchers are also encouraged to take notes using their laptop, tablet, phone, or other electronic device.
  • The research room includes a digital microfilm reader that has scanning capabilities. Researchers can bring a USB/flash drive to save any microfilm scans, and must remain seated at the microfilm reader while scanning.
  • To minimize disruptions for all researchers, we do not allow filming in the research room without prior approval.
  • Please note: any textual material described as "closed pending review" requires at least two weeks' advance notice so that the material can be reviewed and opened; email for more information about accessing this material.
  • Please note: sound recording research requires at least two weeks' advance notice so that listening copies can be prepared. Researchers requesting access to audio recordings from the John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Oral History collections should give several weeks' notice (per interview) so that archivists may review them for potential opening:

Exit Procedures

Upon completion of research, the Archivist on Duty will inspect each researcher’s equipment for record material. This includes laptops, scanners, and other equipment where records could be erroneously placed.

On-Site Services

  • The JFK Café is open every day. Researchers can also take breaks to access their own food and water at the tables on the Lobby floor or at the outdoor picnic tables.
  • A water fountain is available in the research room.
  • Accessible bathrooms are available in the research room.
  • The Museum offers free parking.
  • UMass Boston provides shuttle bus service to/from the JFK/UMass Red Line T Station. You may find more information on the shuttle service here

Updated: February 2024