Research Access Policy

Due to ongoing work to advance the human remains stewardship project, access to the Anthropology Division’s collections, databases, and archives will be significantly reduced through mid-2026. 

During this time, the Anthropology Division is:

  • Limiting in-person visits to the Biological Anthropology Collections and Anthropology Archives to visits from Indigenous and descendant communities, as arranged through the Cultural Resources Office
  • Considering requests for collections-based research that requires archival consultation in limited circumstances, based on staff availability
  • Continuing in-person visits to other Anthropology Division collections for researchers and descendant communities, under the policies and procedures described below

Please note: The Biological Anthropology database is not available during this ongoing work.

Thank you for your understanding while we focus our efforts on the Museum’s human remains stewardship project.

General Policy

The Division of Anthropology, AMNH, encourages the use of its collections and related documentation for research in connection with a broad range of topics. While the Division can process brief inquiries and photocopy orders by mail, it is not equipped to handle requests that require extensive service time. Researchers who wish to pursue projects in depth are therefore invited to visit.

The Division maintains visitor research facilities for this purpose, to which the following guidelines for access and use apply. These have been designed to ensure that staff members are fully prepared to assist with individual projects, and to enable researchers to use their time in the Division effectively.

To Schedule an Onsite Visit

  1. At least twelve weeks prior to the projected date of visit, a request should be submitted to the Division.
    Please download Visiting Researcher Form in PDF or MSWord formats for scheduling a visit:
  2. Requests are granted subject to curatorial review and availability of staff and work space. Some proposals require evaluation by our Collections Committee, which meets quarterly.
  3. Approval and scheduling will be confirmed by phone, mail or email. The Division cannot assist visitors to the collections or archives who have not submitted an application and received a confirmed appointment.


  1. Storage collections are open for research Monday-Friday, 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., excluding holidays and the lunch hour, 12 noon-1:00 P.M.
  2. Division staff will assemble the material to be studied in a designated area.
  3. Visitors are required to handle artifacts as directed by the staff.
  4. The Division grants requests to remove artifacts from the exhibition halls only in special circumstances. A minimum of three months advance notice is required. Expenses, determined by the scope of the project, will be charged to the individual or organization making the request.
  5. Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted in the Division's study areas.
  6. Visitors are welcome to use the Division's photocopy machines, provided photocopying does not interfere with staff work. There is a charge of $.25 per page for copies. The staff processes photocopy requests only when time is available. The charge for this service is $25 per hour.


  1. The Division's archives include accession documentation, catalogues and field notes related to the collections, and Divisional correspondence, 1894 to the present. The archives are open Monday-Friday, 10:00 A.M to 4:00 P.M., excluding holidays and the lunch hour, 12 noon-1:00 P.M.
  2. Permission to photocopy is determined by the condition of the documentation and the nature of the individual project.
  3. Photocopied material is made available for research purposes only. Clearance for any other use, including publication, electronic transmission, general distribution or commercial use must be secured from the Division by submitting a written request to the Chairperson.


  1. Visitors may photograph in the collections for record purposes, provided they use a flash camera of their own. The Division cannot supply lights, other equipment or specialized work space. Such photographs are for personal use only. Clearance for any other use, including publication, electronic transmission, general distribution or commercial use, must be secured from the Division by submitting a written request to the Chairperson. The catalogue number of all AMNH objects must appear on any published image.
  2. The Museum can provide images of objects on request either through the Division of Anthropology or the Division of Photographic Services. The Division of Anthropology can provide digital images, while the Special Collections division of the Museum Library can provide prints and slides for some objects and for archival images. Reproduction rights and fees are provided on request from the Division of Library Services.
  3. AMNH catalogue numbers must accompany all published photographs of artifacts from the collections.

Additional Resources

  1. Researchers should be aware that the AMNH Library holds additional material that may be of interest, including the Anthropology Division's publications, archival photographs, film and administrative archives. To consult the photographic archives, a prior appointment with the Special Collections Librarian is advisable. Permission to consult administrative archives must be requested through the Special Collections Librarian.
  2. The Division's sound recording collection is housed at the Archives of Traditional Music, Indiana University. Researchers who wish to obtain tape copies from the Archives must first contact the Division for clearance.

Division of Anthropology Curatorial Staff

  • Dr. Ashley Hammond, Associate Curator of Biological Anthropology, Curator-in-Charge of Old World Archaeology, and Division Chair, [email protected]
  • Dr. Laurel Kendall, Curator of Asian Ethnology, Curator-in-Charge of African and Pacific Ethnology, [email protected]
  • Dr. Charles Spencer, Curator Emeritus of Mexican & Central American Archaeology, Curator-in-Charge of South American Archaeology, [email protected]
  • Dr. David Hurst Thomas, Senior Curator in Residence of North American Archaeology, [email protected]
  • Dr. Peter Whiteley, Curator of North American Ethnology, Curator-in-Charge of South American Ethnology, [email protected]

For queries regarding Anthropology collections please contact [email protected]