Plan a Research Visit

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Research Room is closed until further notice.

Research Room Operations

  • All researchers must make an appointment to visit the research room at least 3 days in advance. 
  • Appointments are for one individual, for one day, and no teams or groups will be permitted. 
  • Each researcher may book one appointment at a time, after providing a list of boxes requested for that appointment.
  • Current regulations allow for 25% capacity; 3 researchers will be allowed per day. 
  • On-site research will be limited to undigitized textual materials only. 
  • All researchers and staff are required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
  • We strongly encourage researchers who only need to access a limited number of specified folders to take advantage of our Digitization-on-Demand program, rather than planning 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.

At least 3 days before their requested date, researchers must send an email to kennedy.library@nara.gov with the subject line: “Research appointment request.” We are not accepting appointment requests via phone or on site at this time.

An archivist will work with you virtually to discuss your project and determine if on-site research is necessary to access undigitized materials. 

Before a research appointment is confirmed, the researcher must supply a list of boxes (no more than 18) that they would like to view during their visit at least 24 hours before their scheduled appointment. Researchers who do not submit a box list will not receive an appointment.

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, they 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 at this time. 

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.

Researchers will not be permitted to use paper finding aids, the reference book collection, or the self-service copier that are located in the Research Room at this time. 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.

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 completion of the inspection, sanitizing wipes will be made available for researcher use to wipe down their equipment and space.
  • 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 Cafe and all water fountains building-wide will remain closed until further notice. Researchers can take breaks to access their own food and water on the Lobby floor or at our outdoor picnic tables.

The Museum offers free parking.

Starting on August 9, 2021, UMass Boston will resume shuttle bus service to/from the JFK/UMass Red Line T-Station. You may find more information on the shuttle service here

Updated August 9, 2021