»  Research Access Policy

Research Access Policy

General Policy
    The Division of Anthropology, AMNH encourages the use of its collections and related documentation for research in connection with a broad range of topics. While the Division can process brief inquiries and photocopy orders by mail, it is not equipped to handle requests that require extensive service time. Researchers who wish to pursue projects in depth are therefore invited to visit.

    The Division maintains visitor research facilities for this purpose, to which the following guidelines for access and use apply. These have been designed to ensure that staff members are fully prepared to assist with individual projects, and to enable researchers to use their time in the Division effectively.

To Schedule an On-Site Visit
  1. At least three weeks prior to the projected date of visit, a written request should be submitted to the Curator in charge of the particular area of study (please refer to the Curatorial Staff listed in the end of this document). Use Visiting Reseacher Form for scheduling a visit. This form can be downloaded in MSWord and PDF formats. The signed form must be mailed or faxed (1-212-769-5334) to the Division for approval.
  2. Requests are granted subject to curatorial review and availability of staff and work space.
  3. Approval and scheduling will be confirmed by phone, mail or e-mail. The Division cannot assist visitors to the collections or archives who have not submitted an application and received a confirmed appointment.
Visitor Research Facilities
  1. Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted in the Division's study areas.
  2. Visitors are welcome to use the Division's photocopy machines, provided photocopying does not interfere with staff work. There is a charge of $.25 per page for copies. The staff processes photocopy requests only when time is available. The charge for this service is $25 per hour.
  3. The Division is in the process of computerizing the collections. Visitors may use the Division's collections management system to access collections for which databases currently exist. For further information, please see the section on web access below.
Collections
  1. Storage collections are open for research Monday-Friday, 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., excluding holidays and the lunch hour, 12 noon-1:00 P.M.
  2. Division staff will assemble the material to be studied in a designated area.
  3. Visitors are required to handle artifacts as directed by the staff.
  4. The Division grants requests to remove artifacts from the exhibition halls only in special circumstances. Two months advance notice is required. Expenses, determined by the scope of the project, will be charged to the individual or organization making the request.
Archives
  1. The Division's archives include accession documentation, catalogues and field notes related to the collections, and Divisional correspondence, 1894 to the present. The archives are open Monday-Friday, 10:00 A.M to 4:00 P.M., excluding holidays and the lunch hour, 12 noon-1:00 P.M.
  2. Permission to photocopy is determined by the condition of the documentation and the nature of the individual project.
  3. Photocopied material is made available for research purposes only. Clearance for any other use, including publication, electronic transmission, general distribution or commercial use must be secured from the Division by submitting a written request to the Chairperson.
Electronic Access to Collections
  1. Text databases currently exist for the North/South/Central American, African, Asian, Pacific and European collections. The North/South/Central American, African, Asian, and Pacific ethnographic databases currently include images. Insofar as possible, visiting researchers are encouraged to begin their work by surveying these databases.
  2. Collections data and images are made available for record and research purposes only. Clearance for any other use, including publication, electronic transmission, general distribution or commercial use, must be secured from the Division by submitting a written request to the Chairperson.

Off-Site Web Access
    For certain collections, passwords may be issued for off-site web access to research databases for 6-month period (renewable on e-mail request). Fill out the Web Access Form for requesting a password. This form can be downloaded in MSWord and PDF formats. As with on-site visits, the signed form must be mailed or faxed (1-212-769-5334) to the Division for approval.
Photography
  1. Visitors may photograph in the collections for record purposes, provided they use a flash camera of their own. The Division cannot supply lights, other equipment or specialized work space. Such photographs are for personal use only. Clearance for any other use, including publication, electronic transmission, general distribution or commercial use, must be secured from the Division by submitting a written request to the Chairperson. The catalogue number of all AMNH objects must appear on any published image.
  2. The Museum can provide images of objects on request either through the Division of Anthropology or the Division of Photographic Services. The Division of Anthropology can provide digital images, while the Special Collections division of the Museum Library can provide prints and slides for some objects and for archival images. Reproduction rights and fees are provided on request from the Division of Library Services.
  3. AMNH catalogue numbers must accompany all published photographs of artifacts from the collections.
Additional Resources
  1. Researchers should be aware that the AMNH Library holds additional material that may be of interest, including the Anthropology Division's publications, archival photographs, film and administrative archives. To consult the photographic archives, a prior appointment with the Special Collections Librarian is advisable. Permission to consult administrative archives must be requested through the Special Collections Librarian.
  2. The Division's sound recording collection is housed at the Archives of Traditional Music, Indiana University. Researchers who wish to obtain tape copies from the Archives must first contact the Division for clearance.
Division of Anthropology Curatorial Staff
    • Dr. Alex de Voogt, Curator of African Ethnology, adevoogt@amnh.org
    • Dr. Laurel Kendall, Chair and Curator of Asian Ethnology, lkendall@amnh.org
    • Dr. Jenny Newell, Curator of Pacific Ethnology, jnewell@amnh.org
    • Dr. Charles S. Spencer, Curator of Mexican and Central American Archaeology, cspencer@amnh.org
    • Dr. David Hurst Thomas, Curator of North American Archaeology, thomasd@amnh.org
    • Dr. Peter Whiteley, Curator of North American Ethnology, whiteley@amnh.org
    • Researchers wishing to visit in connection with the Division's collections of Old World archaeology are requested to contact Dr. Laurel Kendall, lkendall@amnh.org.
    • Researchers wishing to visit in connection with the collections of South American archaeology are requested to contact Dr. Charles S. Spencer, cspencer@amnh.org.
    • Researchers wishing to visit in connection with the collections of Biological Anthropology are requested to contact Gisselle Garcia-Pack, ggarcia@amnh.org.
    • Researchers wishing to visit in connection with Public Law 101-601 (NAGPRA) are requested to contact the Division's Cultural Resources Office, Nell Murphy, nmurphy@amnh.org.