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Museum Collections Research Requests

On behalf of the Idaho State Historical Society and its mission to preserve and promote Idaho’s cultural heritage, the Idaho State Museum oversees collection and maintenance of historical artifacts and their associated documentation.  The Museum will permit access to and use of its collections and collections records in a controlled, professional manner that protects the physical and intellectual integrity of the materials.

All applicants requesting access to museum collections are required to read the following Collections Access Procedures before submitting their request.  Procedures include: Conditions for Access, Regulation & Rules for Conduct, Fee Schedule, Citations, and Handling Procedures.

Questions about research requests may be directed to the Idaho Museum Collections Team at (208) 334-2118 or by emailing ISMCollections@ishs.idaho.gov

Collections Access Procedures

  • Access to Museum collection objects is subject to the availability of curatorial personnel and is by appointment only. Walk-in and unscheduled researchers cannot be accommodated. Only curatorial staff will allow access to collections.

  • A Request for Research Access to Museum Collections Form must be completed and submitted to the Museum at least a month prior to the requested access date. The request will be reviewed by the Museum’s curatorial team who will evaluate space, facilities, staff availability, donor restrictions, security, and material stability in determining whether to grant access. The applicant will be contacted regarding the team’s decision.

  • If access is granted, a member of the curatorial team will schedule an appointment with the researcher and will provide supervised access to the specified objects and records. Appointment times will be during regular staff working hours. Research time may be limited by staff availability.

  • All non-Museum staff visitors will always be accompanied by authorized Museum staff when in Museum collections management areas or when working with original Museum materials.

  • Staff may deny access to objects if they are too fragile for handling.

  • Only authorized researchers are permitted in the Museum’s collections management facilities. Unauthorized guests are not allowed.

  • Permission to photograph artifacts for personal scholarly purposes may be granted. Permission to photograph collections objects or photocopy collections records for personal scholarly purposes does not constitute permission to publish. If a researcher wishes to publish photographs of collections items, they must complete a “Permission to Use” form and pay any required fees.

  • The Museum requests a copy of any research papers or publications resulting in whole or in part from use of the collections.

  • Food, beverages, and tobacco products are not allowed in the artifact research area.

  • Bags, cases, packages, handbags, coats, backpacks, and all carried items are subject to search when entering and leaving the Museum or collections management facility and are not permitted in the artifact research area.

  • Only lead pencils are allowed for note taking. Pens and markers are prohibited.

  • The first hour of research is free. Any research time over an hour is charged at a rate of $19 per half hour.
  • Photocopying of Museum records is permitted within reasonable limits. Fees for photocopies are $.20 per sheet for letter or legal size and $.40 per sheet for ledger size.
  • Museum collections objects or records reproduced in print or electronic media require citation of the artifact’s object number and the credit line: Courtesy Idaho State Museum. Occasionally, it is necessary to credit the donor, source of accession, or collection title. Researchers will be responsible for providing the appropriate credit line to publishers, filmmakers, etc.
  • Permission to access museum objects does not constitute permission to handle museum objects. Museum staff must approve all object handling.
  • Handling Museum objects may be hazardous. Museum objects may contain broken glass, (sometimes rusty) metal items with sharp edges, or objects which may retain chemical or biological contamination. Use caution when handling museum objects. A dust mask may be required.
  • Researchers are required to wash their hands before handling museum objects.
  • Cotton or nitrile gloves will be issued to the researcher and must be worn when handling museum objects.
  • Museum objects may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced over, or handled in any manner that may damage them.

Museum Collections Research Request Form

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