Update on Our Member Institutions' Research Policies

Our member institutions continue to adapt to the pandemic in order to facilitate safe research activity where it is possible. Please see below for their particular research policies (updated summer 2021):

American Philosophical Society

  • The APS Reading Room is currently closed to researchers until 2022.
  • Any visitor, contractor, researcher, or other person not on the staff of the APS must check-in at Library Hall. They will have their temperature taken and fill out forms in the event of contact tracing. Anyone with a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees will be asked to leave.
  • The movement of staff, researchers, and other visitors into the APS buildings will be limited and strong physical distancing measures enforced.
  • All staff and visitors will be required to wear a mask when working or moving in public spaces. Although the Society will have spare surgical masks available, visitors are expected to provide their own masks.
  • Researchers may submit requests for digital scans, but should expect considerable delays in receiving materials. Please contact reference@amphilsoc.org with questions.



  • Caltech is planning to return to full in-person campus activity on September 7, 2021. The Caltech Archives and Special Collections expects to be able to accommodate visiting researchers again at that time.
  • Caltech offers digitization by request. Researchers can request specific folders from finding aids, and we’re happy to assess whether their contents support the researchers’ projects and to provide approximate page counts. We then charge 45¢ per page to non-Caltech researchers, with a turnaround time of a couple weeks depending on the size of the request.


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Archive

  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library and Archives will approve in-person research visits on a case-by-case basis. Appointments are required. Archives staff are currently on-site on a limited schedule. Prerequisites for research visits include but are not limited to no recent contact with COVID and no recent travel via public transportation outside of the NY area (i.e. planes, trains, etc). Masks must be worn full-time while inside the building and on the Laboratory grounds.
  • Virtual research visits are permitted, dependent on staff availability. Consultation requests must be made via email to archives@cshl.edu<mailto:archives@cshl.edu>. Requests should be as detailed as possible (include name of collections interested in, box numbers and folder numbers interested in viewing). Any scanning requests must be equal to or less than 30 pages. Exceptions may be made as needed depending on staff availability. Archivists are responding to all reference requests and pointing to digital online resources freely available to researchers including:
    • Sydney Brenner Collection
    • James D. Watson Collection
    • Carol Greider Collection
    • Barbara McClintock Collection
    • Spring Harbor Symposia Photographs
    • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Annual Reports
    • Eugenics Records Office Collection
  • Contact archives@cshl.edu for more information.


College of Physicians of Philadelphia

  • The Historical Medical Library is currently closed to researchers but we may be able to make exceptions on a limited basis.  (The Library space is inaccessible currently due to much-needed renovations, which will likely run through September.) Please email Archivist Chrissie Perella at cperella@collegeofphysicians.org for more information.
  • Library staff are doing as much virtual reference as possible, although with lengthier questions and/or large volumes of reference scans/photos, requests can sometimes take several weeks to fulfill.
  • When we reopen our reading room, research appointments will be limited due to staff shortages.  We will continue to be appointment only, with enhanced cleaning protocols, etc.  Researchers can find our policies (last updated June 2021) here: https://collegeofphysicians.org/library/policies.  The College is complying with state and city guidelines regarding COVID-19 protocols and we will have updated information closer to reopening.


Drexel University

  • Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University – Archives
    • Open to ANS staff researchers with clearance to be in building
    • Digital research copies may be available by request; allow 2-4 weeks for responses
    • May be able to consider individual requests to visit archives--contact the Brooke Dolan Archivist (https://ansp.org/research/library/archives/)
  • Drexel University Archives
    • University Archives staff are currently working on campus for a limited number of hours per week and will fulfill researcher requests for digitized materials whenever possible. Researchers whose inquiries are time-sensitive and cannot be completed with digitized material should contact archives@drexel.edu to discuss their options.
    • Please note that access to the reading room is currently restricted to currently enrolled students and employed Drexel faculty and staff with a current Drexel ID and at the discretion of the University Archives staff.
    • Archives staff are available to answer questions and provide remote research consultations, consultations about donating or transferring records to the Archives, rights and reproductions support, and advice about implementing the University’s Records Management policy.


Harvard (Countway Library)

  • At the Countway, our reading room is not presently open.  It is unlikely we'll be open to (non-Harvard) fellows before July 1st. 
  • Digitization of materials is possible, to a certain extent. Contact Jessica Murphy, Public Services Librarian, for more information: Jessica_Murphy@hms.harvard.edu


Johns Hopkins University

  • Hopkins Special Collections units are closed to non-JHU affiliates at this time. Access for faculty and students from other educational institutions will be designated for later dates in the phased Johns Hopkins re-opening plan.


Linda Hall Library

  • The Linda Hall Library’s travel policy requires all out-of-town patrons to self-quarantine for three days after arriving in Kansas City. After that, they must obtain a negative COVID-19 test before they can conduct research in the building.
  • The Linda Hall Library recently began a phased return to normal operations and new hours. As of June 1, 2021:
    • The Main Reading Room will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays.
    • The History of Science Reading Room will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursdays.
  • Consortium research fellows should contact fellowships@lindahall.org at least one month before their visit to confirm their travel plans.
  • All research fellows traveling to the Linda Hall Library from outside the Kansas City metropolitan area must self-quarantine for 3 days after their arrival and produce evidence of a negative COVID test before entering the building.
  • Once on site, fellows who provide proof of vaccination are not required to wear masks in either the Main Reading Room or History of Science Reading Room. Unvaccinated patrons and fellows, or those who cannot offer proof of vaccination, should continue to wear masks while working in those spaces.
  • For more information, please visit https://www.lindahall.org/ or email fellowships@lindahall.org.


New York Academy of Medicine

  • Beginning September 14, visits to the NYAM Library reading room are resuming. Visitors need to make arrangements in advance, provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, and mask during their visit. Appointments are available Tuesdays through Fridays. Morning (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) and afternoon (1:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.) appointments should be made at least five workdays in advance, and the number of researchers will be limited. Morning researchers may return in the afternoon if those appointments have not been filled. Researchers should send a list of the materials they wish to consult at least three workdays in advance. Call or email the Library using the information below to schedule an appointment.
  • All researchers will need to provide proof of vaccination and wear a mask.
  • More information is available on our website: https://www.nyam.org/library/ and especially on the Visit the Library page: https://www.nyam.org/library/connect/visit-library/
  • Contact information: Call the Library at 212-822-7315 or send email to library@nyam.org for assistance.


Newberry Library

  • Currently the Newberry’s reading rooms are closed to the public and fellows, but we have staff fielding reference and digitization requests as they come in.
  • On March 2, we are planning to reopening our reading rooms to staff, fellows, and public readers. We will be operating on an appointment basis, with morning and afternoon slots for appointments. At each appointment readers can request up to five collection items – up to the box level – to consult.
  • We anticipate being able to welcome short-term fellows to the building in April.


Princeton University

  • Princeton’s Special Collections are once again open to outside researchers. Access is limited to four users per day, so researchers will have to get in touch with Special Collections to reserve a spot.


Rockefeller Archive Center

  • After a two-year hiatus, the Rockefeller Archive Center is re-opening to researchers as of April 4th.  For the immediate future, this will be done on a limited-capacity basis. For appointments to conduct research at RAC, please contact archive@rockarch.org.
  • Staff continues to be engaged with researchers both locally and around the world, responding to reference requests and pointing out digital resources available to them online.
  • Examples of digitized online resources include:
    Rockefeller Foundation officers' diaries
    Rockefeller Foundation fellowship recorder cards
    Ford Foundation catalogued reports
    The records of the Bureau of Social Hygiene
    The records of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial
    A growing list of archival film, newsreels, and other AV clips on RAC's YouTube page


Science History Institute

  • The Othmer Library Special Collections are open to researchers, by appointment, on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Appointments must be made and confirmed 24 hours in advance. For information on remote services, please contact reference@sciencehistory.org


Smithsonian Institution

  • The Archives Center’s staff is delighted to be able to reopen the reading room to public researchers, in addition to SI staff, fellows, and interns, starting the week of May16th:
  • The Archives will be open to both Smithsonian Institution staff and public researchers, Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.
  • The Archives is open only by appointment.
  • Researchers should contact us as far in advance as possible.There will be a limit of four researchers allowed in the reading room at any given time.
  • Researchers must identify the boxes they want to review before their visit; we will pull those in advance as we often do not have the resources to pull additional boxes during a visit.

Please note due to ongoing COVID issues:

  • All researchers will be encouraged to wear a mask inside Smithsonian facilities.
  • These policies may change as we learn more about the demand and our capacity to staff the reading room.
  • If you would like to schedule an appointment, please send an email to Archivescenter@si.edu.  If you need a refresher on our policies and procedures, please visit americanhistory.si.edu/archives/research.
  • As always we encourage you to explore our online finding aids Collection Search Results | SOVA (si.edu).

United States Naval Observatory

  • The US Naval Observatory Library will approve in-person research visits on a case-by-case basis. Appointments are required. Library staff are currently on-site full time. Prerequisites for research visits include but are not limited to no recent contact with COVID and no recent travel via public transportation outside of the DC/MD/VA area (i.e. planes, trains, etc). Masks must be worn full-time while on federal property.
  • Virtual research visits are permitted, dependent on staff availability. Appointments are required. Consultations may be made by phone or over email. Library staff are making a concerted effort to freely fulfill scan requests, but each request must be equal to or less than 20 pages. Exceptions may be made as needed depending on staff availability.


University of Oklahoma

  • The History of Science Collections of the University of Oklahoma is currently closed to visiting researchers. We anticipate opening for fall of 2021.


University of Pennsylvania


Wagner Free Institute of Science

  • The Wagner is returning to its regular schedule for research appointments starting July 6th.
  • Monday-Friday 9:30-4:30, by appointment only.


Yale University

  • Yale University has not provided parameters for access to libraries for outside researchers yet.  We will update the Consortium as soon as we know.