With the many significant historic events taking place at Harpers Ferry over the past centuries, people keep mementos, write about their experiences, as well as commemorate these historic events. While the park Museum Program collects, preserves, and exhibits a sampling of these items, there are many objects in private hands that could fill gaps within our collections.
While we cherish and value all historic objects, due to space constraints the park has firm collection guidelines as set forth in the Scope of Collections Statement. In general, we collect objects and archives related to John Brown's raid, the Civil War, Industrial Technology, Transportation, and African-American History. If you have something you believe might be of interest to the park, please complete the Donor Questionnaire and either print it out and mail it or attach it to an email to the addresses provided at the top of the form. It is important to our review process that you include photographs of all sides of the item(s) you wish to donate and any identifying marks. Also include the dimensions of the items as part of this submission. We cannot accept all items offered and have a committee of senior park staff to assist with making these decisions. If it is determined that your items do not fit our Scope of Collections Statement, we will attempt to provide information on other museums that may be a more appropriate repository for your donation.
Due to staffing constraints we ask that you contact park staff a minimum of 30 days in advance using the Researcher Registration form. Please specifically explain the nature of your research, the intended product, and why you feel access to our collections is necessary for your research. Phone inquiries will not be accepted unless you do not have access to a computer. Receipt of your request will be acknowledged within 2 weeks. The complexity of the request and the backlog of current requests will significantly impact the final response to your request. No time commitments will be made prior to the research beginning on your request.
If you wish to conduct research online, consult our digital resources on our Research webpage.
Harpers Ferry NHP does not provide staff for research services. Members of the public may request to do research on site as with other government agencies.
Archives hours: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Tuesday and Thursday. Advanced reservations are required to access the park archives, please request this access through the Researcher Registration form.
If you are interersted in use or publication of images located on our web site or found through research, please reference the following forms to learn more about how to obtain rights to use these images.
Did You Know?
The Appalachian Trail runs through Harpers Ferry. A short walk along the trail from the lower town to the C&O Canal will take you from West Virginia to Maryland in just a few minutes.