Researching at CMCH

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What you need to know to begin research.
For questions about donating items please visit the
Object Donation – Frequently Asked Questions page.

Book a Research Appointment

Because of the nature of the Connecticut Museum of Culture and History materials, certain registration procedures and regulations apply to keep our collection safe and available for future use.

Please note some protocols have been changed or added to reflect COVID-19 guidelines.

Important Notice: CMCH requires that visitors not visit CMCH if they have Covid symptoms. Visitors should follow requirements for air and other travel if visiting CMCH from out of state. Visitors are required to properly wear a wellfitting mask for the entire time they are on CMCH property. There is no CT or CMCH testing or vaccination requirement. Please refer to the State of Connecticut’s travel advisory webpage for the latest information. 

Here are essential things you should expect when arriving at CMCH to do research:


The Edgar F. Waterman Research Center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: 12:00-4:30 pm, and Thursday: 12:00-7:30pm, by appointment only. The Waterman Research Center will be closed for cleaning at end of day, 4:30pm (7:30pm on Thursdays only).

Appointments and Registration

Booking requests must be made one week in advance

On your first visit (ever, or in a long time) to the Waterman Research Center, you will need to complete an online registration form to submit a research appointment request. Please note confirmed appointments are now required to access the Waterman Research Center.

Staff will contact you (typically via email) to confirm your research appointment and provided essential information once your online request form is submitted. Find our online registration form and appointment information here. You may be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of photo identification during your initial research visit. You may be asked to update your registration information each year.

In the event that we cannot properly staff the Waterman Research Center, please expect the possibility that your research appointment(s) will be cancelled.


A number of protocols – for access, handling, and mitigating direct contact to maintain social distancing – have been instituted by staff to help you have a fruitful and safe research experience. Please see our current protocol guidelines for accessing the Waterman Research Center.

Personal Belongings

Pencils, laptop computers, digital cameras, and loose papers may be brought into the Waterman Research Center. Manuscript users: personal papers will be set to the side, as they cannot remain on reserved area desks while using manuscripts. A coat rack and free lockers are available for all of your other belongings (coats, purses, brief cases, tote-bags, computer bags, folders, etc.) Paper is available to researchers using historical manuscripts. Food and drink are not allowed in the Waterman Research Center.

Photocopies and Printouts

Because of the fragile nature of many materials, books over 100 years old and bound manuscripts may not be photocopied, although they may be photographed. Additional restrictions may apply to some manuscript materials; please contact staff with specific questions.

Photocopies are currently provided exclusively by staff. Until further notice, there is no charge for photocopies or printouts.

Retrieving and Searching for Materials

Materials must be requested through CMCH’s online library catalog system a minimum of two (2) days before your confirmed research visit. Unfortunately, because of new protocols due to COVID-19, materials cannot be pulled on demand on the day of your visit. If you need assistance requesting materials in advance, please contact staff. To browse our non-library items, see our eMuseum and Digital Catalog tools. Find our other Research Tools online.

Remote Research

If you cannot visit the Waterman Research Center, we may still be able to help you:

  1. To ask a research question, select from the prompts and fill in our online form
  2. See the current list of Independent Researchers for Hire for in-depth research assistance
  3. View our currently digitized collections on the Digital Catalog and eMuseum
  4. Staff can review CMCH collections and get back to you – select from the prompts and fill in our online form

Rights & Reproductions

CMCH objects, images, or other materials may not be published without written permission. More information is available in the Digital Reproductions section of this site.

Please note that the Connecticut Museum of Culture and History reserves the right to inspect all research materials and personal articles before patrons leave our building.


Handling Rare Materials (PDF)

Waterman Research Center Regulations (PDF)

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Tuesday–Friday: 12:00–5:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am–5:00 pm

Research Center Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday:
Research open from 12:00-4:30 by appointment only


One Elizabeth Street
Hartford CT, 06105