Library User Information

MDHS Library Reading Room, 1920

Maryland Historical Society, Library Reading Room looking East, June 1920, Vertical File.


Admission and Registration
Hours of Operation
Using the Library
Planning Your Research
Food and Accommodations
Directions and Parking

Admission and Registration


Members of MdHS: Free

Daily use fee for non-members: $9.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, $6.00 for students (includes access to the MdHS museum).

If you are a frequent visitor to the library consider joining the Maryland Historical Society.   Members enjoy free admission, the quarterly Maryland Historical Magazine, discounts at the MdHS Gift Shop, and other benefits. For more information please see our membership page.


First-time visitors to the library will be asked to complete a registration form and present current photo identification at the front desk. The ID will be scanned for future reference.

All researchers are asked to sign in and out at the Special Collections desk each time they visit the library.


Hours of Operation

The Library is open to the public Wednesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Special Collections are open to the public by appointment only, Wednesday - Friday and the second Saturday of each month. Please click here for our appointment request form.

The library will close for lunch on Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m..


Inclement Weather

In case of major weather events MdHS may have an adjusted schedule. Please call 410-685-3750 after 7:00 am for weather-related hours.


Using the Library

Please sign in at the Special Collections desk when you enter the library.  The librarians will be happy to help direct you in your research. 

What to Bring:


If needed, pencils are available at the Special Collections Desk.


The Library is often chilly throughout the year, as this is better for our collections.  We recommend you bring a sweater. Outerwear, however, (coats, rain jackets, etc.) must remain outside the library.

For the security of our materials NO BAGS, PURSES, POUCHES, SATCHELS, OR LAPTOP BAGS OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED IN THE LIBRARY.  There are lockers located right outside the library for patrons to store their belongings.


CAMERA (WITH FLASH TURNED OFF).  Some materials cannot be photocopied, but can be photographed. There is a charge of $.50 per image.  Ask the librarian for a digital camera form and the required watermark. See our Personal Camera Policies for more information. 

To obtain images for publication see Rights and Reproductions.

Using the Collections 


In order to start your research at 10:00 a.m., please include your requested boxes/collections on the appointment request form or email your request to [email protected] 24 hrs in advance of your visit. If you have limited research time, we strongly recommend pre-requesting research materials.

No marks may be added to or erased from any library materials.

Patrons should preserve the existing order and arrangement of all materials. Errors in filing or labeling should be reported to the staff.

Researchers will be asked to use microfilm or other reproductions where such editions exist.

Children age 7 and under are not permitted in the reading rooms.

Items allowed in the reading rooms

  • Laptops
  • Cameras (flash photography prohibited)
  • Research materials in open folders or notebooks (contents of which will be reviewed by library staff prior to every exit)
  • Pencils
  • Cell phones (if kept inaudible)
  • Sweaters and jackets normally worn indoors

Items prohibited in the reading rooms

  • Purses, briefcases, computer cases, backpacks, etc. 
  • Zippered notebooks, closed folders, envelopes
  • Umbrellas and outerwear
  • Pens, markers, lipstick, chewing gum, food, drink, and any other items potentially damaging to the collections
  • Personal copiers and digital scanners


Additional Policies Regarding Special Collections

1) Patrons may request up to three boxes/collections at a time, by submitting one pull slip for each box or collection desired.

2) Requests for retrieval will be accepted until 4:00 pm. Patrons also may email requests ahead of time to [email protected]

3) Manuscripts must be placed flat on the tables, not held in hands or on laps. No object may be laid on top of materials. Note paper, note cards, and laptops must be used on the table top next to items.

4) Special collections are to be used in designated areas only. No materials are to be removed from these areas for any reason without permission of the special collections librarian.

5) Photocopying/scanning of Special Collections photographic material, including but not limited to PP collections, Subject Vertical Files, negatives, and slides, is not permitted. Digital reproductions can be purchased from our Imaging Services department

6) For permission to publish, please see our Permission page

7) For citation the following is suggested: name of collection, collection number, Maryland Historical Society.

Theft or defacement of collection material will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.



Computers and Wireless Network

Two computer stations are provided for patron use inside the library. Computer stations can access the MdHS web site including the online catalog and finding aids as well as several subscription databases and other digital resources.

Pages printed from a library computer station cost $0.25 per page. Copies may be picked up at the Special Collections desk.

A wireless network is available, please ask at the Special Collections desk for the password.


The Walter Edgar Rhodes Reading Room:

A standard copy machine is available in Reference South, across from the Special Collections desk. Copies are self-service and cost $0.25 per page.  Pay the Special Collections librarian when you are done.  Please check with the reference librarian regarding the suitability of copying from pamphlets and fragile books.

Microfilm Reading Area:

Microfilm readers and a microfilm reader/printer are available. Copies can be printed for .50/page. Please ask the librarian if you need assistance.

Special Collections

Patrons using the special collections may not copy materials themselves, please ask staff for a photocopy request form.  Please make photo duplication requests of staff.  Requests for photo duplication will be considered when such duplication can, in the judgment of the staff, be done without injury to the manuscript. Photo duplication will be done at the rate of $0.50 per page and may be done only by staff members. If possible, we will photocopy your order the same day; otherwise, please allow up to four weeks for copying and mailing.

It is understood that the reproduction is to be made solely for your convenience in examining the manuscript; that the reproduction will not itself be reproduced; and that it will not be transferred to any other person or institution without the prior permission of the Special Collections staff.

Please note: Photocopying of Special Collections photographic material, including but not limited to PP collections, Subject Vertical Files, negatives, and slides, is not permitted. Digital reproductions can be purchased from our Imaging Services department


Planning Your Research

Please begin by using the Online Catalog. The Online Catalog includes entries for all our books and microfilms as well as all processed manuscript and photograph collections, with links to finding aids when they exist.

Also helpful are the Collection Guides. These list maps, ephemera, oral histories, and genealogical manuscript collections as well as finding aids for manuscript and photograph collections. Please note that we have more than 3,000 processed manuscript and photograph collections and only about 700 finding aids; you will want to search the Online Catalog as well as the Collection Guides.

To conduct genealogical research, please see Genealogy Research for tips and resources.

For a more in-depth tutorial on searching the collections of the Maryland Historical Society, please click here

Order-ahead service

To request items from Special Collections, e-mail your request, specifying collection (MS number) and box numbers, to [email protected]. Please give at least 24 hours’ notice.


Food and Accommodations

There are a variety of restaurants in varying price ranges within walking distance of the MdHS. A restaurant listing is available at the Special Collections desk.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the green arrow in the Google™ map to obtain directions from any location.

From I-95: Take Exit 53 (I-395) to Martin Luther King Boulevard. Right on Druid Hill Avenue (W. Centre Street). Left on Park Avenue. Left on Monument Street. The MdHS and parking will be on your left.

From 83 South: Take the Maryland Avenue exit and turn left onto Maryland Avenue. Maryland Avenue merges with Cathedral Street. Follow Cathedral Street and turn right on Monument Street. Cross Park Avenue and the MdHS and parking will be on your left.

From Downtown Baltimore/Inner Harbor: Go north on Charles Street, staying in the left lane. Turn left on Franklin Street. Turn right on Park Avenue. Turn left on Monument Street. The MdHS and parking will be on your left.

From Washington DC, Philadelphia or BWI via train: Maryland Historical Society is one-half block from the Light Rail’s Centre Street stop, which connects with MARC trains to Camden Station and Penn Station and Amtrak trains to Penn Station.

Parking: Free on-site parking is available at the MdHS. The lot entrance is off W. Monument Street.

Entrance: Enter the MdHS via the two-story glass Beard Pavilion from either the center of the parking lot or Park Avenue.

Walking to MdHS

The campus is located near the Walters Art Gallery, and other Mount Vernon attractions. From the Walters, turn right on Centre Street and cross Park Avenue. Enter from the Park Avenue entrance.



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