Research Policies

Conducting Onsite Collections Research

Onsite collections access requires an appointment, and scheduling is based on staff availability. We strongly encourage researchers to contact the Museum at least one month prior to when you would like to visit.

Please fill out the below Onsite Collections Access Request to inquire about making an appointment. If you have questions about collections access not addressed by the form or policies please email

Onsite Collections Access Requests

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 one month.

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 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 Museum’s Collections Portal, which contains over 185,000 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.

Museum of the City of New York Archival Collections 

Archival finding aids for collections in the Manuscripts and Ephemera and Theater collections are available via the Museum’s Archival Collections database. Entries include links to the Museum’s Collections Portal where the collections, or portions of the collection, have been digitized.

Visit the database here.

Collections Access Room

The Collections Access Room at the Museum is open by advance appointment only 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 permits researchers to take digital photographs of materials for reference purposes only. Photographs may be taken with a digital camera, cell phone, or tablet as long as the flash is turned off and no tripod is used. A small fee will apply; please refer to the Onsite Collections Access Policy for specific information.

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 the office of Licensing and Reproductions, at 917.492.3375 or

Can I donate objects to the museum’s collection?

Thank you for thinking of us, as the Museum of the City of New York relies on generous donations from the public to enhance our collections.   However, due to the volume of offers, we cannot accept any materials without prior approval. Nor can we pass along unsolicited donations to another institution.  

If you have objects that you believe would complement our collections, please send a description (including the size, content, condition, historical significance and provenance), as well as photographs or scans of your proposed donation to

Join MCNY!

Want free or discounted tickets, special event invites, and more?