How to Conduct Research
at the Navy Archives
The Navy Archives is open to researchers by appointment only.
Due to preparations for our upcoming move, the NHHC Archives is temporarily unable to assist public researchers with their requests. This temporary shift in priority will allow us to move into our new facility and address a large processing backlog. We anticipate these tasks will be completed no earlier than Fall 2023.
The Archives is currently open to official researchers only. Federal employees and contractors pursuing research for official business are encouraged to schedule an appointment to come to the Archives and conduct on-site research or submit a remote reference request through the archives email address at email@example.com.
We encourage all researchers to search the digitized materials available on the NHHC website to see if your needs can be met with material already available there. If public researchers require further support, they can request material via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Guidance and instructions on this process can be found on the FOIA section of this website. Additional Navy records can be found on the National Archives and Records Administration website.
Researchers are advised to contact us at least two weeks prior to your proposed visit to allow our staff time to locate and prepare the requested materials. Due to internal priorities and staffing schedules, we may not be able to accommodate you on your desired date(s); therefore, it is highly recommended that you refrain from making travel arrangements until you receive confirmation from us. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 433-3224.
Due to the special nature of our archival materials, all researchers will be required to read and sign the Research Room Rules. By signing this document, you acknowledge that you have read and understand the rules of researching in the Navy Archives. Failure to follow these rules could result in the revocation of your access to the materials.
Personal computers, cameras, and scanners are allowed in the research room (note: scanners with an auto-feed function are not permitted). Unfortunately, Wi-Fi is currently not available.
If you are looking for information on how to submit remote reference requests, please consult our Reference FAQs and Reference Services Policies.
Here are some general rules and regulations that researchers should be aware before visiting the Archives:
- 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.
- 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.
- Paper and pencils can be provided. Pens, markers, and highlighters are prohibited.
- Researchers may work only in the research rooms, and are not allowed in restricted areas.
- 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.
- 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.
- Eating and drinking are not permitted in the research rooms. This includes gum, candy, and mints, and tobacco products.
- 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.
- Please consult with an archivist before making photocopies, as many of our documents are fragile and require special handling.
- 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.
- 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.
- All notes, photocopies, bags and purses are subject to inspection before the researcher leaves.
For more information, check out the following resources:
About the Navy Archives & Contact Information
Navy Archives Collections Information and Finding Aids
Navy Archives Resources for Researchers
Navy Archives Resources for Veterans