Conducting onsite collections research

Closure Advisory
Due to major collections initiatives requiring the participation of all department staff, the Museum will be unable to fulfill requests for onsite research appointments as of August 15, 2014. We anticipate resuming onsite appointments after January 1st, 2015. We will continue to answer remote inquiries during this time.

Onsite collections access is conducted by advance appointment only during the hours of 9:30 am – 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm, Monday–Friday, based on staff availability. We strongly encourage researchers to contact the City Museum at least two weeks prior to when you would like to visit. Please contact research@mcny.org to inquire about making an appointment.

For full information on procedures and associated fees, please read the Onsite Collections Access Policy.

Remote Collections Access Services

Remote collections access is defined as research utilizing collections objects facilitated by Museum staff via mail, email, or telephone at the request of an outside party. The default turnaround time for an initial response to a query is two weeks.

Inquiries that that require less than 30 minutes of staff research will be answered free of charge. Remote collections inquiries exceeding 30 minutes are subject to fees and stipulations. For information on remote services and fees, please refer to the Remote Collections Access Policy. Researchers are encouraged to contact the Museum by email at research@mcny.org for more expedient service. You can also leave a message on the research voicemail, 917.492.3399, but be aware that voicemail messages are not checked as frequently as email messages.

Online Tools for Research

Collections Portal

Researchers may begin their search on the City Museum’s Collections Portal, which contains over 135,000 searchable images from our collection. The Museum continues to make more of our collections available via the Portal on an ongoing basis; please keep in mind our online holdings reflect just a portion of the Museum’s vast collection.

Visit the Collections Portal here.

Archival Collections Catablog

Another online search tool is the City Museum’s recently launched "catablog," which provides short descriptions of our archival collections via blog posts. These posts are tagged, categorized, searchable, and include links to full PDF versions of finding aids for specific collections. Posts include links to the Museum’s Collections Portal when the collection or portions of the collection have been digitized.

Visit the Catablog here.

Collections Access Room

The Collections Access Room at the City Museum is open to researchers who demonstrate a need to access primary sources in the Museum’s holdings. The Collections Access Room is not staffed or equipped to assist patrons who wish to conduct general research into New York City history.

If you have research of this nature, we suggest contacting the New York Public Library or the Municipal Archives.

Duplication Services

Digital photographs

The Museum of the City of New York encourages researchers to bring digital cameras onsite to take reference photographs of collection objects. A small fee will apply; please refer to the Onsite Collections Access Policy for specific information. Flash may not be used at any time.

Reference scans

Researchers requesting digital scans will be provided with reference quality images (72dpi, 5"x7"). Researchers are entitled to five pages of free scans per inquiry. After the first five, fees will apply. It may take up to two weeks for the digital images to be delivered. Scanning is subject to the approval of the archivist or curator.

Rights and Reproductions

To learn more about requesting high-resolution reproductions from the Museum’s collection for personal or commercial use, click here. You can also contact Nilda I. Rivera, Director of Licensing and Reproductions, at 917.492.3375 or rightsandrepro@mcny.org