What you need to know to begin research
Researching at CHS
Because of the nature of the Connecticut Historical Society 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.
Properly worn face masks are required to enter the CHS building and the Edgar F. Waterman Research Center.
Important Notice: People traveling to Connecticut, including CT residents who have recently been outside of the state, are directed to follow current CDC guidance on travel. Travelers are strongly encouraged to get tested 3-5 days after travel, and self-quarantine for at least 7 days after travel. If you do not get tested after travel, you must self-quarantine at home for a 10-day period from the time of last contact within outside states or countries. See here for current state travel protocols and covid-19 travel recommendations. Visitors must quarantine for ten (10) days prior to visiting the CHS. This also means you cannot book a research appointment until after the ten (10) days.
Here are essential things you should expect when arriving at CHS to do research:
The Edgar F. Waterman Research Center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: 12:00–2:15 pm and 2:15–4:30 pm, by appointment only. The Waterman Research Center will be closed for cleaning at end of day, 4:30pm.
Appointments and Registration
Booking requests must be made two weeks 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.
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 CHS’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.
If you cannot visit the Waterman Research Center, we may still be able to help you:
- To ask a research question, select from the prompts and fill in our online form
- See the current list of Independent Researchers for Hire for in-depth research assistance
- View our currently digitized collections on the Digital Catalog and eMuseum
- Staff can review CHS collections and get back to you – select from the prompts and fill in our online form
Rights & Reproductions
CHS 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 Historical Society reserves the right to inspect all research materials and personal articles before patrons leave our building.
Tuesday-Friday 12pm-5pm, Thursday nights until 8pm
Research Center Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-5pm, Thursday nights until 8pm
Always by appointment only.
One Elizabeth Street
Hartford CT, 06105