Rules & Regulations Governing Access To & Usage of the Collections of the Baltimore City Archives

Archival records and special collections are unique and require special handling and protection. You, the researcher, are a partner with the Archives in protecting and preserving these materials so that they remain intact and available to future researchers. Your compliance with these rules and regulations is appreciated.


  • Researchers must present photographic identification upon arrival and upon demand to staff of the Baltimore City Archives or staff of the Maryland State Archives stationed at the facility.
  • When registering for the first time and upon annual renewal, researchers must present two forms of identification, including one official photographic ID (i.e. driver’s license, state identity card, passport, student ID, corporate ID, law enforcement ID, state or federal employment ID or other officially issued identification cards) and a second confirming ID (i.e. library card, credit card, utility bill, health plan card, insurance plan card, vehicle registration, social security card, or any official ID as described above.) One of these must have residential information and one must have a signature.
  • The registration form must be completed before researchers are permitted access to the searchroom. Upon arrival, researchers will be asked to present two forms of identification. The information provided on the registration form is subject to verification against the identification presented, particularly the signature and residence. Personally identifying information shall be kept secure at the Archives and will not be provided to third parties, excepting officials acting under appropriate legal authority. Submission of the registration form online or submission of the registration form in-person at the Baltimore City Archives constitutes acceptance of these regulations.
  • Daily registration requires presentation of photographic ID to Archives’ personnel at the registration desk. Researchers must sign the daily register, including name and arrival time.


  • Personal possessions are not allowed in the searchroom. Such possessions include, but are not limited to: food, beverages and beverage containers (including baby bottles, “sippy” cups, and other non-spillable containers), pens or permanent markers, Post-It or sticky notes, carbon paper, flatbed or handheld scanners, USB drives for insertion into Archives’ computers, camera or video lights, overcoats, raincoats, suit or sports jackets, sweaters with pockets, hats, briefcases, oversize bags or purses, backpacks, belt pouches or fanny packs, umbrellas, boxes, bound notebooks and folders.
  • Food may be stored in the lockers but there is no location in the building where researchers are permitted to eat, so please plan accordingly.  There are several restaurants within walking/short driving distance from this facility.
  • Personal possessions are to be stored in a locker as directed by Archives’ staff. Personal belongings placed in lockers are stored at your own risk. The Baltimore City Archives is not responsible for personal property lost or stolen at its facility.
  • Materials which may be brought into the searchroom include, but are not necessarily limited to: paper for research, #1 or #2 (soft) pencils, laptop computers, and cameras (video or still, digital or film).
  • All items brought into the searchroom are subject to inspection by the Archives’ staff. The Baltimore City Archives is not responsible for personal property lost or stolen at its facility.


  • Researchers will be assigned desks to use in the searchroom by Archives’ personnel. Archival materials (records and papers) must be used at these desks.
  • No children under age 15 are allowed in the searchroom without permission of a reference archivist.
  • Searchroom computers are available for use by the public. Internet resources and email may be consulted.
  • Only soft pencils (#1 and #2) may be used in the searchroom and are available at the reference desk. No pens or markers that could permanently mark paper may be used.
  • Pull slips must be completed for all records. They will be provided by searchroom staff.
  • Rare books and manuscripts may only be used with the approval of the City Archivist.
  • No more than three records of any description may be used at a research desk at any one time. However, archivists have discretion to withhold records if the desk space is so crowded as to interfere with the safe handling of the records.
  • All materials must be used on a desk or table. No materials may be placed on the floor.
  • Researchers MUST maintain records in the EXACT arrangement in which they are received. Errors and inconsistencies in either arrangement in the boxes or descriptions in guides should be reported to the reference staff. Researchers MUST NOT attempt to re-arrange records.
  • All materials must be used with the greatest of care. If a researcher is unsure of proper paper handling, he or she can request instructions. Paper — particularly newsprint and other acidic, fragile items — must be handled gently with two hands. Items should be held at the edges whenever possible. Materials MUST NOT be marked upon, altered, folded, traced, or handled in any way likely to result in damage. Archivists may at their discretion require that researchers wear gloves when handling materials. Gloves are available upon request. In all instances, researchers’ hands must be clean to prevent soiling of records. Documents and volumes must lie flat on the table. They may not be propped upon books, other records, or the edge of the workspace, nor held in the researcher’s lap.
  • Records may only be used by the researcher who requested them and may not be given to another researcher for usage at another desk.
  • Researchers are responsible for returning all archival materials to the reference archivist upon completion of research. The pull slip MUST be returned with the item.
  • Records WILL NOT be retrieved, except under extraordinary circumstances, after 2:30 PM.
  • All materials being removed from the searchroom are subject to inspection by Archives’ personnel and/or security personnel.
  • Researchers are welcome to use digital cameras to photograph any records in the collection. If a researcher desires a better quality copy of a record, they may request digital scans of the records. The Baltimore City Archives scans desired records at the series unit level, and requests a contribution related to the number of pages scanned at the fulfillment of the scanning request. Photocopying records is not permitted.


  • The searchroom is a research and study facility. Loud conversation is distracting and impolite. Extensive conversation and cell phone calls should be conducted outside of the Archives’ searchroom.
  • Researchers with disabilities should not hesitate to request the assistance of staff members with moving heavy volumes or boxes.
  • Cameras may be used, without flash, to record documents for personal, non-commercial use. Documents may only be photographed while lying horizontally on a desk or table or supported at an angle on a book cradle. Tripods may be used with the approval of the reference staff. Patrons may not stand on chairs or other furniture when performing copy photography.
  • Researchers are advised that the Archives retains and asserts the right to inspect any and ALL materials upon exit from the searchroom.


  • It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint or reproduce recorded materials from the Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel and copyright. One gratis copy of any publication resulting from extensive research or including documents held at the Archives must be deposit with the Archives.


  • The Archives retains and asserts any and all rights not enumerated in these rules and regulations necessary to protect its holdings which do not violate civil liberties as defined and upheld by the courts of the State of Maryland and the United States.
  • In conformance with the Archivists’ Code of Ethics and the laws of the State of Maryland and of the United States, the facilities and services of the Baltimore City Archives are available to all registered researchers without regard to gender, race, color, creed, or national origin. Sign language interpreters and other appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request with 48 hours advance notice.
  • The only public area of the Archives building is the search room and restroom. Only Archives personnel, volunteers on duty and authorized persons are permitted in other areas of the facility. Visitors to the Archives’ offices must present photographic ID to the reference archivist, sign in on the visitor log, and be escorted by a staff member or volunteer to and from their destination.
  • These rules and regulations are subject to change at the discretion of the Baltimore City Archives.

This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

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