General Information
The Oregon Historical Society Research Library is open to any researcher, professional or non-professional, who is working on a specific research project.

For individuals who do not have a research project but would like to see original documents and other images from our collections, the museum offers a variety of exhibits.

Our mission is to make the rare documents, books, maps, recordings, and images in our care available to researchers like you. Please help us be good stewards of these rare materials by preparing for your visit and by reading and following the use guidelines.

Whether you are a new or returning visitor, please stop at the admissions desk in the main lobby at our Park Street entrance to register. All library visitors are required to register on their first visit each calendar year by filling out a brief registration form and presenting current photo identification. This form, which is completely confidential, is used for tracking purposes and is valid for the remainder of that calendar year. With each subsequent visit during the year, please let the admissions staff know you're making a return visit to the library.

Once you have registered, the Research Library is a quick elevator ride away. Upon entering the library, please gather research materials (pencils, paper, and laptops) you plan to use during your visit, then check your coats, bags, and other belongings in the coatroom (complimentary lockers are provided). Reference librarians are on hand in the Research Library to help you get started with your research.
  • Research Library materials are non-circulating. You may not check out books or other items or obtain them through interlibrary loan.
  • Stacks are closed. Materials must be requested by researchers and paged by library staff. Browsing is not allowed except in the reading room reference collection.
  • Photocopying is limited, so please allow ample time to take notes.
  • We suggest you conduct preliminary research at your local public or academic library, where you may find a good selection of books, serials, and newspapers to help you prepare for specialized research in our library.
  • Many items do not appear in our online catalog but are indexed on-site.
  • Many materials are stored at our offsite storage facility and require advance notice for retrieval. Please plan ahead by using the online catalog and contact a reference librarian if you have any questions.

What to bring:

  • Pencil (no pens, please)
  • Paper or writing tablet
  • Laptop computers are allowed, and outlets are provided in the reading room. Cases, however, must be placed into a locker.

What Not to Bring:

  • Cameras, scanners, tape recorders, or other electronic recording devices are not allowed in the reading room. The Research Library offers photoreproduction services for most items.
  • Strollers, carts, or other bulky items are also restricted.
  • Cell phones must be turned off.
  • Food and drink are not allowed in the Research Library.
  • All coats, book bags, briefcases, closed or zippered portfolios, backpacks, fanny packs, purses, and other personal items must be placed in a locker or hung in the coatroom before entering the reading room.
Research Library
About the Library
Visiting the Library
Using the Library
How to Search Online Collections
Rights & Reproduction
Photograph Gallery