Collections Frequently Asked Questions
Who may use the collections? Where can I use them?
Where is the Maritime Research Center located?
The Maritime Research Center is located on the 3rd Floor of Building E at Fort Mason Center. Please see Plan Your Research Visit for directions, parking availability, and other information to help plan your visit.
How do I find archival and object collections?
See Collections Catalogs & Finding Aids for links to the archival, object, and library publications catalogs. For more information on finding photographs, see our research guide, Finding Photographs in the Historic Document Collections (Adobe Acrobat .pdf file, 815 Kb)
May I browse or retrieve materials myself?
Only the public reference materials in the Research Center are available for self-service. The collections stacks are closed to everyone except authorized staff. Paging of materials is handled by the Park's Maritime Research Center staff. Some materials are located in offsite storage, and paging times vary.
Can I check out materials from the Maritime Research Center?
Most Stack materials can be borrowed through interlibrary loan service, for in-library use in your local library. Rare library materials, archival materials, and audio-visual collections are not available through interlibrary loan, and must be used in the Maritime Research Center.
Is help available to researchers?
Reference assistance about the collections with limited research is available. Staff are unable to undertake lengthy research investigations.
Are there restrictions on what sort of items I can bring into the Maritime Research Center?
Does the Maritime Research Center provide computer facilities for word processing and other applications? Is wifi available?
How can I get copies of materials?
Requests for reproductions from library and archival collections may be available, depending on the item's condition. Please refer to the Park's Duplication Services for information on reproductions and pricing; reproductions are provided on a cost recovery charge-back basis in accordance with 43 U.S. Code 1460 and National Park Service (NPS) policy. Fees recovered from the delivery of reproductions are used to support the use and preservation of the Park's collections. All copies are produced by Park staff only. Payment is accepted with a credit card or checking account via our Pay.gov site, and must be received in advance before an order can be processed.
Do you have ship's passenger lists, or information on life on the ships?
My relative was a sailor--can you help me find information on him or her? My relative served on a Navy ship--can you help me?
Can I volunteer at the Maritime Research Center? Do you have library, archives, or objects internships?
The Research Center periodically has volunteer and internship opportunities for both short-term, project-based and long-term assignments. Please contact the Park's Volunteer Office to learn more.
How can I donate library material to the Park's Maritime Research Center?
How can I donate material to the archives or museum collection?
Want to learn more about donating archives in general? See the Society of American Archivists' Donating Your Personal or Family Papers to a Repository.
What are my books, photos, etc., worth? How can I care for my personal collections?
The Park staff can not provide this information to individuals; please see Conservation/Preservation Information for the General Public at the Conservation Online website for links to resources and information.