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!