Researching at CHS What you need to know to begin research

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.

People traveling from states on the official CT quarantine list, including CT residents who have recently been in those states, are directed to follow the official Connecticut quarantining rules found at:

Out-of-state visitors: if your state is marked in red on the current travel advisory map, you must quarantine for fourteen (14) days in Connecticut prior to visiting the CHS. This also means you cannot book a research appointment until after the fourteen (14) 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: 12:00–2:00 pm and 2:30–4:30 pm, by appointment only. The Waterman Research Center will be closed for cleaning each open day at 2:00 pm.

Appointments and Registration

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 now exclusively provided 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.

We are here to serve you; there is no self-service at this time. To see items in our reading room/open shelves, please ask staff. All materials are pulled by staff, including items in the open shelves of our library. Card catalogs are now searched by staff only.

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 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.


download-icon-down-arrow-23Handling Rare Materials (PDF)

download-icon-down-arrow-23Waterman Research Center Regulations (PDF)

Click here for COVID-19 visiting rules. Click here for the CHS’s digital programs.