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From Wednesday, April 5 through Saturday, April 22, 2017, the Motion Picture Research Room (Room 4000) of the National Archives at College Park will be closed to NARA staff and the public.  This closure is required to facilitate the ongoing building wide re-cabling project to maintain and improve NARA’s network infrastructure.


Digitized motion picture content will continue to be accessible and available on the Special Media Public Access PCs in the Still Picture Research Room (Room 5050) and the Cartographic Research Room (Room 3050).  Digitized content already available online through the National Archives Catalog will also remain accessible and available.


Motion picture reproduction orders (Item Approval Request Lists), and regular reference inquiries sent to the inbox will be unaffected by the temporary closure.


Motion picture reference staff will be available on an on-call basis, and will be able to provide limited consultation service and textual records to onsite researchers.  Textual records in the custody of the Motion Picture Branch (e.g., production files) and which require pull slips will be made available in Room 4050 (Microfilm Research Room), and pulled at the regular pull times. The on-call consultant will arrange for the pulling and refiling of these records for researcher use.


During this period, access to the self-service reference collection and finding aids in Room 4000, as well as regular records pulls from the motion picture holdings, will be suspended.


We expect the Research Room to re-open for normal business hours and operations on Monday, April 24, 2017.


We ask for your patience and understanding while we work to upgrade our infrastructure.  Please direct any questions, comments, or concerns to Daniel Rooney, Chief, Motion Picture, Sound and Video Branch.  He can be reached at: 301-837-1995, or


Since 1976, every February is recognized as Black History Month where museums, schools, archives, universities, and institutions celebrate the history and achievements of African-Americans in the United States.  Evolving from a series of efforts spearheaded by historians and educators in the early 1900s, it became an academic / cultural recognition event since the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.


The beginnings of Black History Month originated with black history groups who established recognition weeks focused on the achievements of African-Americans such as Frederick Douglass.  The movement spread across the country as additional schools and towns began holding their own Black History weeks.  Coinciding with the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations in 1976, President Gerald Ford officially designated February as Black History Month and since then, each year has focused on a certain theme relating to Black History and its importance.


If you'd like to know more about the National Archives holdings on African-American history, you can check out the The specified item was not found. and see additional posts about African-American history here on the History Hub!: Explore, Transcribe, and Celebrate African American History Help Transcribe African American History Records


You can also visit the newest museum in the Smithsonian system; the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Opened in September 2016, the museum has collected thousands of documents, artifacts, and you can learn more about them here:

National Museum of African American History and Culture | A museum that seeks to understand American history through the…

If you have been following our #ResearcherProTip series here on History Hub and read our article “So, what’s the Difference between a Library and an Archive?,” you’ll know that the records held here at the National Archives can be enjoyed within our facilities, but cannot be taken home with you.


Because our records have enduring value to government officials, citizens, and researchers, we know how important it is for researchers to obtain copies of our records for use outside our facilities, and we have several options to make sure you obtain great reproductions of the documents during your visit here at the College Park and Washington, D.C. locations.


If you plan on bringing in your own camera or smartphone to take photos of any materials, we’ve made it even easier for you to capture images for your research. We have several portable camera stands that you can use right at your reading desk. These small, handy set-ups can hold any digital or DSLR camera or smart phone, and can help you capture a steady, clear image. Please note, however, that flash photography is not permitted in order to protect our materials from any damage from extreme light exposure.



The copy centers at both of our D.C.-area locations are also a researcher’s best friend when it comes to reproduction options. Several Sharp photocopiers are available, which allow you to produce hard copies of any records or to scan images of documents onto your own USB flash drive. We also have an overhead book scanner, which you can use to capture images of any large volumes you may be working with. Please note, that there are fees associated with reproductions made from our copiers and printers in the NARA research rooms, so be sure to check the pricing of paper and digital copies by following the link below.


If you are looking to obtain high quality photos of any documents, the copy centers are equipped with illuminated camera stands with high powered light panels that help you to eliminate any glare when photographing your documents. While you may use your own camera when working at an illuminated camera stand, we also have several DSLR cameras available for use by researchers on a first come, first serve basis. Please note that our cameras and camera stands are free to use, but researchers must provide their own memory card.



Before you begin making any kind of reproductions of our documents when you arrive, remember to first obtain photo permission from NARA staff in the reading room. Happy researching!