Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Reference Assistance

The Naval History and Heritage Command provides reference services, with policies differing by branch as described below. Extensive research must be conducted in person and by appointment. Research can also be obtained through the Naval Historical Foundation or by hiring a commercial researcher.


Please refer to our Notices page for the latest researcher access information, which is subject to change. To contact a staff member regarding reference assistance, consult our directory.



Visit the Library services page for information on reference assistance.


Curator Branch

Provides limited research services on artifacts in response to written and telephone inquiries and by appointment. Check our Notices for the latest information on access to our collection, and review our Directions and Access page to plan your visit. Most files on hand relate to the command’s acquisition and custody of objects with a brief explanation of the item's significance. Extensive documentary information on the history of an item, such as technical design and development, operational employment, and serial numbers of major equipment, is more likely held by the Archives Branch.


Archives Branch

Provides limited reference services for NHHC’s collections of photography, operational records, personal papers, and ship and aviation unit records. Researchers should be aware of the following rules before visiting the Archives:


  1. Researchers must sign in and out in the Visitors Log. A photo ID may be required to be shown. Each time the researcher leaves a building, he/she must sign out.
  2. Researchers are required to leave coats, bags, briefcases and other items in the provided lockers. Researchers may also be required to surrender cell phones and other electronic devices during their visit.
  3. Paper and pencils can be provided. Pens, markers, and highlighters are prohibited.
  4. Researchers may work only in the research rooms, and are not allowed in restricted areas.
  5. Special care must be taken in handling all records. Records may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced from, or handled in any way likely to damage them. Records should be kept in the same order in which they are presented. Microfilm or microfiche copies of records will be used when available.
  6. Only one box of research material is allowed on the table at a time. When using a box, pull only one folder at a time and mark its place in the box with an OUT card.
  7. Eating and drinking are not permitted in the research rooms. This includes gum, candy, and mints, and tobacco products.
  8. Personal computers and tape recorders are permitted, so long as they do not disturb others. Permission and signature of the branch’s camera use policy is required for the use of cameras and scanners.
  9. Please consult with an archivist before making photocopies. Our duplication policy provides more information on procedures and fees.
  10. It is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure compliance with copyright requirements before publishing material held by the Archives Branch or lengthy quotations from such material.
  11. If you desire records to be held for short periods, please notify an archivist. We will not hold records for more than 5 business days.
  12. All notes, photocopies, bags and purses are subject to inspection before the researcher leaves.






Published: Tue Nov 10 15:33:09 EST 2020