Conducting Research at the Museum
ABOUT THE MUSEUM’S HOLDINGS
The Shiloh Museum's collection includes over 500,000 historic images, over 10,000 archival artifacts, extensive vertical files, and a small, non-lending book library. The museum’s materials are used for in-house research, publications, exhibits, publicity, and educational programming. These resources are also available to historians, genealogists, students, journalists, publishers, etc.
Photo and research materials are housed in the museum’s research library. At this time the museum does not have an on-line database of its photographic holdings nor are its photo finding aids available for public perusal. Staff can provide information about the content of the collections on a case-by-case basis.
Most research assistance is offered free of charge. A fee may be assessed due to lengthiness and/or difficulty of request. Research can be conducted in person or remotely by phone, mail, or email.
Contact before a planned visit is especially important as it allows staff plenty of time to examine library holdings for relevant materials. While the museum will make every accommodation to assist drop-in researchers, an appointment will help ensure that a staff member is available to offer assistance. Limited research access is available on Saturdays and holidays.
Researchers should provide as much information as possible in order for staff to facilitate the request. For instance, “Images of Fayetteville” is too generic a search topic considering that the museum has thousands of images that fall under this heading. Instead, specify a specific street, building, and/or time period to help the museum narrow its search. If a person is being researched, knowing his or her full name (nickname & various spellings, too) and where and when he or she lived is helpful.
Copies of research materials and photos are available for a fee. The museum reserves the right to deny reproduction should doing so cause harm to the object or if the object has known access or copyright restrictions. Researchers are responsible for compliance with laws governing copyright and literary property rights. Neither the granting of access to materials nor the copying of materials convey or imply conveyance of the right to publish or use the materials in any way.
RESEARCHING AT THE LIBRARY
Upon arrival in the library, researchers are asked to complete a form that includes their name and contact information, the topic being researched, and what the research will be used for. Such information helps the museum understand how its collections are used and provides it with useful statistics for grants, reports, etc. The information also allows staff to keep in touch with researchers should new material relevant to their research be collected.
The museum reserves the right to ask that bags, purses, briefcases, notebooks, coats, etc., be kept separate from the researcher’s work area; an exception may be made for uncased laptop computers. All materials are subject to search at the discretion of staff. Food, drink, and smoking are not permitted in the library. Children must be supervised at all times.
Researchers must take notes in pencil using paper provided by staff. Museum holdings must not be marked on in any way and must be handled according to staff guidelines. Researchers may be required to wear gloves (provided by the museum) while handling certain materials. Use of personal cameras or scanners to copy museum materials is not permissible.
RESEARCH PROCESSING TIME
Every effort will be made to fulfill a research request in a timely manner. Be advised that staff may not be able to provide immediate assistance due to work on previous requests or other museum activities. If this is the case, staff will provide an estimate of the time it may take to complete the order. If a photograph is wanted for a publication, it is important to contact the museum a few months ahead of the publisher's deadline. Images may be copyrighted, requiring lengthy permission procedures.
To learn more about the museum’s photo collection and research library, or to schedule an appointment, please contact photo archivist/research librarian Marie Demeroukas.