Plan a Research Visit

Updated Research Room Operations

The Archives main research room is currently open for textual and photographic research Tuesday through Friday (9 am to 3 pm) 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
  • Current regulations allow for 50% room capacity (6 researchers per day).
  • Appointments are for one individual; no groups will be permitted. 
  • Researchers may book one appointment at a time, after requesting a list of boxes requested for each visit.  
  • Mask requirements are subject to change based on local metrics; consult with Reference staff for the latest guidance.
  • We strongly encourage those who need access to a limited number of specified folders to take advantage of our Digitization-on-Demand program, rather than plan an on-site visit.   

How to Schedule an Appointment

  • Appointments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that we expect a high volume of appointment requests, and we suggest emailing as far in advance of your desired date as possible.
  • Those interested in on-site research must email with the subject line: “Research appointment request.” We are not accepting appointment requests via phone at this time.
  • An archivist will work with you over email to discuss your project and determine if on-site access to undigitized archival materials is necessary.
  • The researcher must supply a list of up to 18 boxes they would like to view during each visit. Researchers who do not send a box list at least 24 hours in advance will not receive an appointment or be permitted entry to the research room.
  • All boxes will be pulled in advance of the visit.
  • Researchers will review the National Archives Researcher Orientation prior to their arrival at the Library.

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. (No access will be granted to those without appointments.) 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. To limit the passing of materials, we are operating 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 (it is strongly recommended that researchers bring their own pencils)
  • Masks 

Not allowed in the research room:

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

Conducting Research

  • All researchers work in the main Research Room.
  • Researchers may request up to 18 boxes per visit; these boxes will be pulled for you in advance of your appointment. No additional pulls from the stacks will be made during your appointment. 
  • 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, researchers will not be permitted to use the self-service copier that is located in the Research Room.
  • Paper for taking notes will be provided on a limited basis. Researchers are encouraged to take notes using their laptop, tablet, phone, or other electronic device.
  • 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 personal property for record material. This includes laptops, scanners, and other equipment where record material could be erroneously placed. To ensure staff and researchers maintain appropriate distance, this will be accomplished as follows:

  • Researchers will place equipment and materials to be inspected on their assigned table in plain view, for visual inspection. After placing the equipment on the table, they will step back to comply with social distancing requirements.
  • Upon closure of the research room each day, staff will sanitize all shared surfaces and researcher desks with archival-safe disinfectant.

On-Site Services

  • The JFK Café is open every day except Wednesdays. Researchers can also take breaks to access their own food and water on the Lobby floor or at our outdoor picnic tables.
  • Water fountains are available for filling though not drinking. 
  • The Museum offers free parking.
  • UMass Boston is providing shuttle bus service to/from the JFK/UMass Red Line T-Station. You may find more information on the shuttle service here


Updated: 23 November 2022