Institutional Archives


The mission of the Archives of Carnegie Museum of Natural History is to identify, intellectually and physically organize, preserve, and provide responsible access to records of enduring value, which were created by museum staff and others associated with the museum, and provide essential evidence of the development of collections and research since 1896.

Archival collections do not circulate and must be used in the Museum Library, with the exception of digitized content that is made available through our website.

Introduction to Archives

Institutional recordkeeping systems sustain the museum’s institutional memory by identifying, capturing, and preserving information about the museum’s collections and evidence of its research activities. Records having lasting value to the institution are considered archival and are worthy of long-term preservation and maintenance for continuing access.


Institutional records are those records created or received as a result of the official activities of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Archival institutional records of enduring value include, but are not limited to, incoming and outgoing correspondence, moving images (films), and photographic records in all formats. Specific examples of archival collection records can include field notes, donor correspondence, exhibit records, and other evidence of acquisition. Records can exist in paper form, as photographs or digital images, audio files, or as digital data. Museum staff, board members, and research associates are urged to consider the museum archives as a repository for their personal correspondence and papers as they relate to museum-connected activities. The museum’s archives also serves as the repository for other materials relating to the history of the museum.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History Archival Reference

Any archival inquiries should be sent to the following address: The Carnegie Museum of Natural History Archives welcomes all reference requests from external scholars, the public, and internal departments. Depending on the nature and complexity of your request(s), it may take our small staff between one day and several weeks before we can reply to you with an initial response or robust answer. Thank you for your patience and understanding. The archives contains several fully cataloged, or processed, collections. For further information about our archival collections, including finding aids, please use the above address. A more interactive experience is coming soon!

Carnegie Museum of Natural History Collaborations

We recently teamed up with our research neighbors at the University of Pittsburgh. Please visit our webpage on the “Historic Pittsburgh” site,, to uncover a bit more of our institutional activities over the years. Here, you can find just a fraction of the thousands of photographs that were recently discovered in the archives. In order to reproduce these images for publication or dissemination, explicit permission must be obtained from the Museum Archivist and/or Marketing Department.

General Rights & Permission Information

Permission to examine archival material of the museum collections does not imply permission to publish this information. For specific and/or serious inquiries surrounding reproductions and fees to use materials from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Archives, please contact the Library Manager at SunX@CarnegieMNH.Org, or the Interim Marketing Director at

User Agreement

  • Must handle collection material carefully and report any damage immediately to staff when viewing onsite.
  • Cannot remove or alter labels or other identifying markings.
  • Accept the decision of the library staff as to whether or not something may be photocopied.
  • Accept the decision of the archive’s staff as to whether or not something may be photocopied or scanned.

If visitors wish to take their own photographs of collection material for purposes of individual research, permission must be granted by the Museum Archivist, who will also approve the conditions under which the photographs are taken. If these photographs are to be used in a published work, permission to use them must be requested in writing from the Museum Archivist and Marketing Director. The Museum Archivist may require that the photograph be taken by museum staff or a museum-approved photographer, and that a publications use fee be applied. This fee will be in addition to that charged for the creation of the photograph. Regardless of who creates the photograph, the credit line will read: Courtesy, Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Understand that it is the responsibility of the user to determine the copyright status of unpublished or published text, images, or electronic data found in the museum collections, or held in departmental archival collections, as it cannot be assumed that the museum has clear title to that material. If unpublished archival material such as correspondence or field notes is quoted or referred to in a publication, a credit line must be predetermined by the Museum Archivist or Marketing Director.

Citing from the Archives

When citing from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Archives for scholarly publications, please refer to the following guide:

Citation Guide: Citing Archival Records for Publications