How do I plan to do research at Columbia Archives?

We strongly encourage prospective researchers to write, call or email the staff in advance of any visit to determine whether pertinent information is available. We will check our holdings and provide an assessment of applicable material. Once researchers arrive they will be asked to fill out a researcher form and read the Rules for Using the Archives. Staff will meet with researchers and offer guidance about which records and collections are most likely to contain useful material. Staff will pull material from the closed stacks for researcher’s use.

Who may use the collections of Columbia Archives?

Columbia Archives collections are open to the public. Students, teachers, urban planners, the press, businesses and Columbia residents are among the users of the Columbia Archives. The Archives welcomes all levels of research interest. We encourage Columbia residents who wish to learn more about their community to visit. Housing brochures, newspaper and magazine articles, phone books and photographs are just some of the items residents might find of interest.

How do I get to Columbia Archives?

Columbia Archives is located at the new CA Headquarters. You may find us at 6310 Hillside Court Suite 100 Columbia, MD 21046. We are close to the intersection of Broken Land Parkway and Stevens Forest Road (near the Howard County Emissions Station)

Is it possible to research your collections online?

Yes! We offer listings of our collections as well as a limited number of archival finding aids and descriptive inventories. We also offer a digitized view into our Ephemera- Memorabilia- Artifacts Collection as well as a link to the Guide to the Ephemera-Memorabilia-Artifacts Collection. We encourage frequent visits to our website as we work diligently to make more and more collection information available.

May I ask research questions without visiting the Archives?

You may ask research questions by calling 410 715 3103 or email at Our staff will gladly conduct a brief search of our collections as time permits and respond within three business days.Columbia Archives offers limited research service for those unable to visit the facility.  A simple question that requires minimal research is free of charge. If your question requires a more in-depth investigation, the staff can conduct limited research. Fees for research are $20 per half hour or portion thereof will be incurred beyond the first 30 minutes of research. Fees will be added for photocopies or scans if applicable.

May I bring my laptop into the archives?

Yes, laptops and power cords are permitted.

I have some old photographs, documents, or books about Columbia. Do you accept donations of this type?

We welcome the donation of materials that relate to the people, places, and events of Columbia. For more information, please contact the Manager or Archivist. See Donating Materials.

How should I take care of my family’s letters and photographs?

The National Archives and The Library of Congress offer great advice on taking care of your family documents and photographs. For more information please contact the Archivist.

May I print selected images or text excerpts from this website for a school report?

Yes, if it is a personal or academic work and not for publication in any medium. The images must remain unaltered and all accompanying caption information and any text must be included without alteration. This type of use is encouraged; all other forms of publication are prohibited without approval. See Permission to Publish.

How do I obtain permission for publication?

Anyone wishing to use the text, images or content from this web site for purposes other than for a personal or school report must receive prior approval. See Permission to Publish. Permission is granted on a case-by-case basis. A usage fee may be charged depending on the nature of the proposed use.

Can I use a digital camera or scanner?

Handheld personal digital cameras can be used in the Columbia Archives with permission of staff who will evaluate the material for physical condition, copyright issues, and donor restrictions. Scanners and use of a flash or other lighting are prohibited. Images of materials that are made in Columbia Archives may not be used for publication or on a website without permission of our department. See Permission to Publish.

Are there volunteer opportunities at Columbia Archives?

Columbia Archives uses volunteers for on-going and special projects and events. Interested individuals should contact the Manager at or 410-715- 3103.

May I put unaltered content on a closed and restricted database at my school?

Yes, if there is no charge for the user and if electronic distribution is limited to educational use for a specific purpose or limited duration. The images must remain unaltered. All accompanying text and caption material must be included without alteration and the citation must include the URL for Columbia Archives.