Visiting the Illinois State Archives Illinois State Archives
The Illinois State Archives Reference Room is currently open by appointment only.
Illinois State Archives Reference Room Temporary Procedures
Directions and Parking
The Illinois State Archives in Springfield is located in the Margaret Cross Norton building on the Capitol Complex, just south of the Illinois State Capitol and just north of the Illinois State Museum. Metered parking is available along Edwards Street in front of the museum. Free parking is available at the State Capitol Complex Visitors Center Lot one block west of the Norton Building. Designated handicapped parking is found in the parking lot in front of the Archives.
Hours of Operation
The Reference Room is open to the public from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. It is closed on weekends and state holidays.
Requests for records must be submitted to Reference staff no later than 3:30 PM. No records will be pulled for researchers after this time.
Access & Security
All visitors to the Reference Room are required to go through a metal detector. Lockers are available in the lobby for items not allowed in the Reference Room.The following items are PROHIBITED in the Reference Room:
- All food and drink, including gum and water
- Outerwear, including coats, jackets, hats, umbrellas, etc.
- Backpacks, briefcases, purses, or laptop computer bags
- Scissors, pocket knives, or other sharp objects
- Pens, markers, highlighters, tape or glue
- Three-ring binders, folders and spiral notebooks with pockets
- Laptops, tablets and silenced cell phones
- Notecards, notepads, spiral notebooks without pockets
- Cameras and small scanners without document feeders, at the discretion of Archives staff
All visitors are required to sign the login sheet upon entering the Reference Room. Registration is required to access original records. A photo ID with your address is required when registering.
The stacks are closed to the public and records must be requested at the reference desk. Reference material and microfilm copies of frequently requested records are available in the Reference Room and Microfilm Reading Room.
No original records, reference material or microfilm copies may leave the Reference Room or Microfilm Reading Room. Materials are subject to search when leaving the Reference Room.
All records held at the Illinois State Archives are open for public use except for those specifically restricted by law or rule. Researchers are encouraged to contact Archives staff to discuss possible restrictions.
Handling Archival Materials
Please exercise all possible care to prevent damage to the records.
- Remove one folder from a box at a time and replace records in the same order as originally found. Placeholders are provided to keep records from being misplaced or misfiled. Do not rearrange files; report any records believed to be misfiled to staff.
- Pens are not allowed and should not be used by researchers in the Reference Room. Make no marks of any kind on the records. Place nothing on top of the records.
- Bound volumes, fragile documents, and over-sized materials may only be copied by Archives staff.
- At the discretion of Reference staff, researchers may be required to inspect microfilm copies of original records.
- Researchers will be required to use gloves when inspecting photos and photo negatives.
Please see the Illinois State Archives’ Basic Fees and Copy Policy.
Computers & Equipment
The Reference Room at the Illinois State Archives has a computer for public use with internet access and access to Ancestry and HeritageQuest. There is also a copier/scanner available for public use. The microfilm reading room has multiple readers and for viewing and printing from microfilm. Copies/scans made on Archives’ equipment are $0.50 per page.
Researchers may not use the public use computer, microfilm readers or copier/scanner for any reason other than the use and inspection of records or materials available in the Reference Room.
Patrons unable to visit the Illinois State Archives to conduct their own research may contact Archives staff to conduct limited research for specific information. Due to staff limitations, the Archives cannot conduct in-depth research. Please contact the Archives to discuss your research needs.
Non-Illinois Resident Research Fee Policy
The Illinois State Archives is required to receive, from all out-of-state or non-Illinois residents, a $10 fee, prepaid and nonrefundable, along with all research requests before those requests may be honored. The fee will entitle the requester to up to 2 unofficial, non-certified copies of the records requested if those records exist.