Archives FAQs

Addressing COVID-19 Protocols

The Archives Reading Room will reopen by appointment only on Tuesday, October 20.

When are you open?

The Archives Reading Room is open for scheduled appointments Sunday from 1- 4 p.m. and Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Email the Archives or call 650.299.0104 and ask to speak to the Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled at least 2 days prior to visit. Currently, we are allowing one group at a time in the Reading Room per appointment. The group may include up to two people from the same family unit.

What are you doing to address concerns around COVID-19?

To prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus, staff and visitors will be asked to wear face masks that cover nose and mouth and maintain social distancing of 6 feet while in the History Museum. In the Reading Room, both the Archivist and researchers will wear nitrile gloves while working with historical collections. Surfaces such as tables, chairs, and door handles will be disinfected between research appointments. Collection materials will be set aside for four days before the next use.

Where are the San Mateo County Historical Association Archives located?

The Archives are located within the History Museum at 2200 Broadway Street in Redwood City, CA. Visitors should go to the front desk when they arrive. There is an accessible lift on the right side of the front steps. If an alternative entrance is needed, please call 650.299.0104.

Is there parking?

There are several parking garages located within walking distance from the Museum. Metered street parking is also available. Some nearby parking garages include:

  • Jefferson Parking Garage at 830 Jefferson Avenue
  • Marshall Street Parking Garage at 750 Marshall Street
  • County Garage at 400 Middlefield Road

What can I bring to the Archives?

Feel free to bring pencils, notebooks, phones (set on silent or vibrate), and laptops into the Archives Reading Room. You will also need to bring a photo ID for check-in. Personal belongings can be stored in designated areas in the Archives Reading Room.

Can I take material home with me?

The SMCHA Archives is non-circulating and material can only be used in the Reading Room. The collection contains rare or unique items of historical significance. These items require special handling so that they can continue to be used by generation after generation of visitors. We take care of these items for use by the public and ask that our researchers help us by treating materials gently and with care.

Can I make photocopies of archival material?

Currently, the Archives provides up to 10 free PDF scans per research visit. During a visit, researchers can fill out a copy form noting items to be reproduced. PDF files will be sent following the visit. After 10 free pages, the charge will be $0.25 per page made through our online payment system.

Can I take pictures of archival material?

You may take snapshots using a phone or handheld camera for personal research use (i.e. do not publish, distribute, or post online without prior permission from SMCHA)

Can I get a high-resolution scan of a photograph in the Archives?

Yes. Please contact the Archivist and let them know the following:

  • Catalog number of the item you are interested in
  • Page number (if applicable)
  • The desired size and file type, e.g. 600 dpi .jpg

Scanning services require an image permit form to be filled out along with associated fees. Please allow a minimum of two-weeks turnaround for image requests. Due to COVID-19, we can only provide digital image files at this time.

Digital Reproduction Rates

  • Personal single use: $25 per image
  • Publication single use (such as books, periodicals, films, videos, and other published works)

For-profit: $50 per image

Non-profit: $25 per image

  • Exhibition single use (such as prints for display in public spaces)

For-profit: $50 per image

Non-profit: $25 per image

  • Graphics or advertising single use (such as book covers, end papers, postcards, calendars,

brochures, posters and general print media)

For-profit: $150 per image

Non-profit: $75 per image

  • Website use

For-profit: $50 per image for initial permission and two years use with a $30 fee for a two-year renewal

Non-profit: $25 per image for initial permission and two years use with a $15 fee for a two-year renewal

If not listed in a category above, requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine Special Services fees.

Please note, oversize or fragile artifacts may require the cost of professional photography in addition to the listed fees.