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Worcester Historical Museum

Worcester Historical Museum Research Library

Worcester Historical Museum, first floor
30 Elm Street
Worcester, MA 01609

Click here for directions

Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Every fourth Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Attention library patrons:
Appointments are required for the viewing of any archival materials manuscript collections, maps and photographs. Please call library staff at least one workday prior to your visit to make arrangements.

Contact Information
Phone: 508-753-8278 ext. 105
Mail: Research Library at the above address
Fax: 508-753-9070

General Information
The museum's library consists of a research collection of some 6,000 published titles, a photograph collection of over 200,000 prints, and approximately 4,000 linear feet of non-published documents in a variety of forms.

Published works include local and regional histories, Worcester city directories, insurance atlases, biographies, genealogies, Worcester-oriented serial publications from the 19th century to the present, works of Worcester authors, vital records of the towns of Massachusetts up until 1850, Massachusetts records of soldiers and sailors in the French and Indian, Revolutionary and Civil Wars, records of town meetings, and more.

Non-published documents in the museum's archives include personal and family papers from the 17th century to the present, business and industrial records from the 18th century to the present, and ephemera, including 19th century valentines. The collections have local, regional, and national significance.

Library Services

On-Site Reference Assistance
Reference librarians are available to assist you in the library Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 4th Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The reference staff will answer questions about the library's holdings, recommend sources and help researchers use the catalogs, databases and other access tools.

Student and Class Visits
We ask that students at the middle school level or younger visit the library with an adult, such as a teacher or parent, and that the teacher or parent call ahead to discuss briefly the nature of the student's project with a reference librarian. Teachers of college and graduate school classes who would like to schedule a class visit to the library's general collection should contact the museum's librarian Robyn Christensen at

Research by Mail
For a prepaid fee, a library staff researcher will investigate and respond to your questions utilizing sources available in our library and archives. The fee includes the cost of up to 20 photocopied pages of supporting documents. A response will be sent 2 to 3 weeks following receipt of payment. While we can not guarantee results, we will make every effort to locate the information and to cite the sources consulted. It is recommended that patrons first send an email clearly stating their inquiry. Library staff will do a free preliminary 15 minute search of our collections. After the search is complete, a librarian will indicate if additional research time would be worthwhile and note potential resources and facilities which may further your research endeavor.

Submitting a Research Request by Mail
Worcester Historical Museum offers two options for submitting research requests:

By the Hour
All hourly requests must be submitted in writing and include payment. An initial research period of 1-2 hours is recommended. Please refer to the fee schedule and request for more information. Click here for the Research Request Form

Exact Citation
With an exact citation, we will provide up to twenty pages of photocopies from the cited source for a fee (see Fee Schedule). A publication citation includes a title, author, and publication date and page number. Manuscript letters and other original documents require collection name, box and folder numbers. Fees for orders that exceed 20 pages are determined on an individual bases. Click here for the Exact Citation Form

Photocopies are made by and at the discretion of the staff. If photocopying jeopardizes the condition or stability of an item, the photocopy request will be denied. Oversized, fragile or tightly bound items, and bound manuscripts cannot be photocopied.

Rights & Reproductions
Photocopies made by the library are intended for reference purposes only and may not be reproduced or sold in any form. Those desiring photographic reproductions of library materials or permission to reproduce such images, should contact the library directly.

Fee Schedule*
Research (first hour)
Each additional hour
Exact Citation photocopy
*Fees are subject to change

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Open Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm,
Fourth Thursdays 10am - 8:30pm

Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm,
Fourth Thursdays 10am - 8:30pm

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