General Guidelines for the Manuscript Reading Room
- Lockers and keys are provided to researchers for the storage of personal items not permitted in the reading room
- Archives of American Art staff reserves the right to determine what items may be brought into the reading room
- Researchers must wear shoes at all times.
- Laptop computers
- Digital cameras and cell phones (set to silent)
- Your own notes, scratch paper, notepads, and notebooks
- Luggage and bags (including purses and laptop cases)
- Food and drink (including lozenges, chewing gum, and bottled water)
- Ink pens of any type and indelible pencils
- Post-it notes or any type of sticky tag used for flagging
- Scissors, letter openers, or other sharp objects
Guidelines for Using and Photocopying Manuscript Materials
- Archival materials may not be removed from the Manuscript Reading Room.
- Researchers are prohibited from writing or notating on archival materials under any circumstances.
- Researchers must use one box at a time and remove one folder at a time.
- The provided box marker must be used to maintain original order. The folder in use should be replaced before pulling another out of the box.
- Material may not be flagged, pulled out of folders, turned up in folders, or set aside for photocopying.
- Please alert desk attendant to any materials that may seem out of order. Researchers may not change the order of the materials under any circumstances.
- No books, papers, or other objects may be laid on or affixed to archival materials or folders.
- Self-service copiers are available to researchers.
- Bound, oversized, and fragile materials may not be photocopied under any circumstances.
- When photocopying, please take the entire folder with the items you need to the photocopier; individual items may not be carried from your work table.
- Do not attempt to remove staples or other fasteners from archival material. See desk attendant for assistance.
- Hand held and desktop scanning devices are not permitted.
- Restricted materials may not be photocopied without appropriate 3rd party authority.
Guidelines for Photography in the Manuscript Reading Room
Photography is permitted only as follows:
- for personal and research use only to minimize photocopying and supplement note-taking;
- with a hand held digital camera (or cell phone) without the flash;
- a copyright notice and collection title (provided by the AAA staff) is to be included in all images;
- restricted material may not be photographed without appropriate third party authority, obtained in advance
- photographs may not be published, reproduced, or distributed in any way, including Internet use.
- patrons may not stand on tables or chairs or rearrange furniture for the purposes of photography.
- Tripods, copy stands and other supporting equipment;
- Photographs of the reading room, Archives' staff, or other patrons.
Handling Materials for Photography
- Do not manipulate materials to achieve a better image;
- Manuscript material may not be placed on the floor or on the window sills;
- Do not press down on materials or bindings;
- Manuscript materials must always be flat on the table and not held up in the air;
- Loose materials must remain in their folder and in order at all times;
- Volumes should not be laid flat-book cradles will be provided;
- Weight bags and "snakes" are available;
- Do not fold pages;
- Do not remove items from sleeves, mats, etc.;
- Oversize items, or anything that does not safely fit on the table, and fragile or damaged items may not be eligible for photography.
Attention: Permission to take photographs for personal and research use does not include permission to publish or distribute the photographs. If you are interested in submitting a reproduction request please make an inquiry with the staff for instructions. Full instructions for submitting a reproduction request are available on our Rights and Reproductions page. Photography privileges can be denied or revokes at any time if these guidelines are not followed.
Policies Governing Use
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproductions.
One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproductions is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.
Privacy and Personally Identifiable Information
Manuscript collections that include twentieth and twenty-first century archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state “right to privacy” laws. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal cause for action if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person.
Smithsonian staff have taken care to identify and, in some cases, remove Personally Identifiable Information found within its archival collections when undertaking archival processing work. However, privacy protected information may be revealed during use of the archival collections, particularly in those collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed.
Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.