First Time User Registration for Archives of American Art Research Request System

Create a Research Request Account

To create a research request account and request materials, please review the information below. By clicking the "Accept Terms and Conditions" button, you confirm that you have read and understand these policies, and agree to abide by their terms and conditions.

More information about the Archives of American Art Research Request System, Aeon

General Guidelines for the Manuscript Reading Room

  • Lockers and keys are provided to researchers for the storage of personal items not permitted in the reading room
  • Archives of American Art staff reserves the right to determine what items may be brought into the reading room
  • Researchers must wear shoes at all times.

Permitted Items:

  • Laptop computers
  • Digital cameras and cell phones (set to silent)
  • Pencils
  • Your own notes, scratch paper, notepads, and notebooks
  • Sweaters

Prohibited Items:

  • Coats
  • Luggage and bags (including purses and laptop cases)
  • Umbrellas
  • Food and drink (including lozenges, chewing gum, and bottled water)
  • Ink pens of any type and indelible pencils
  • Post-it notes or any type of sticky tag used for flagging
  • Scissors, letter openers, or other sharp objects

Guidelines for Using and Photocopying Manuscript Materials

Using Materials:

  • Archival materials may not be removed from the Manuscript Reading Room.
  • Researchers are prohibited from writing or notating on archival materials under any circumstances.
  • Researchers must use one box at a time and remove one folder at a time.
  • The provided box marker must be used to maintain original order. The folder in use should be replaced before pulling another out of the box.
  • Material may not be flagged, pulled out of folders, turned up in folders, or set aside for photocopying.
  • Please alert desk attendant to any materials that may seem out of order. Researchers may not change the order of the materials under any circumstances.
  • No books, papers, or other objects may be laid on or affixed to archival materials or folders.


  • Self-service copiers are available to researchers.
  • Bound, oversized, and fragile materials may not be photocopied under any circumstances.
  • When photocopying, please take the entire folder with the items you need to the photocopier; individual items may not be carried from your work table.
  • Do not attempt to remove staples or other fasteners from archival material. See desk attendant for assistance.
  • Hand held and desktop scanning devices are not permitted.
  • Restricted materials may not be photocopied without appropriate 3rd party authority.

Guidelines for Photography in the Manuscript Reading Room

Photography is permitted only as follows:

  • for personal and research use only to minimize photocopying and supplement note-taking;
  • with a hand held digital camera (or cell phone) without the flash;
  • a copyright notice and collection title (provided by the AAA staff) is to be included in all images;
  • restricted material may not be photographed without appropriate third party authority, obtained in advance
  • photographs may not be published, reproduced, or distributed in any way, including Internet use.
  • patrons may not stand on tables or chairs or rearrange furniture for the purposes of photography.

Not permitted:

  • Tripods, copy stands and other supporting equipment;
  • Photographs of the reading room, Archives' staff, or other patrons.

Handling Materials for Photography

  • Do not manipulate materials to achieve a better image;
  • Manuscript material may not be placed on the floor or on the window sills;
  • Do not press down on materials or bindings;
  • Manuscript materials must always be flat on the table and not held up in the air;
  • Loose materials must remain in their folder and in order at all times;
  • Volumes should not be laid flat-book cradles will be provided;
  • Weight bags and "snakes" are available;
  • Do not fold pages;
  • Do not remove items from sleeves, mats, etc.;
  • Oversize items, or anything that does not safely fit on the table, and fragile or damaged items may not be eligible for photography.

Attention: Permission to take photographs for personal and research use does not include permission to publish or distribute the photographs. If you are interested in submitting a reproduction request please make an inquiry with the staff for instructions. Full instructions for submitting a reproduction request are available at PHOTOGRAPHY PRIVILEGES CAN BE DENIED OR REVOKED AT ANY TIME IF THESE GUIDELINES ARE NOT FOLLOWED.

Policies Governing Use


The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproductions.

One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproductions is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Privacy and Personally Identifiable Information

Manuscript collections that include twentieth and twenty-first century archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state “right to privacy” laws.  Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal cause for action if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person. 

Smithsonian staff have taken care to identify and, in some cases, remove Personally Identifiable Information found within its archival collections when undertaking archival processing work.  However, privacy protected information may be revealed during use of the archival collections, particularly in those collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed.

Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.  

Data Collection and Use

The Smithsonian takes reasonable steps to design and manage our websites' technology to ensure that its information technology systems, applications, and information technology infrastructure are secure. We may retain indefinitely the information you submit voluntarily in connection with your use of an Archives of American Art Research Request System Account. Atlas Systems, on behalf of the Archives of American Art, collects and stores data on your use and interaction with its Aeon requesting software. The use of this data is governed by the Smithsonian Institution Privacy Policy. We may use this information, or provide the information to third parties to use, in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, to satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process, or governmental request; to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, or technical issues; to protect the rights, property, or safety of the Archives, its users or others; to conduct research; for administration and maintenance of collections or archival operations; and otherwise in support of the Archives of American Art's mission.

I agree to indemnify and hold the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, its affiliates, employees, faculty members, members of its governing boards, and agents harmless from and against any and all claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs, and expenses (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys' fees) arising out of or relating to my use of the Archives of American Art materials or my failure to comply with any of the foregoing terms and conditions.

By clicking on the "Accept Terms and Conditions" button, I acknowledge I am voluntarily providing my personal information to the Smithsonian, agree to all the terms and conditions above, agree to the Smithsonian's Privacy Policy, and wish to create an Archives of American Art Research Request System Account.