Visiting the Collections
The Paleontology collections are generally open to bona fide researchers who are affiliated to a recognized academic institution. Approval by Museum staff is required. Normal opening hours are weekdays, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, excluding these public holidays:
December 25, 2023: Christmas Day
January 1, 2024: New Year's Day
January 15: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 12: Lincoln's Birthday
February 19: President's Day
May 27: Memorial Day
June 19: Juneteenth
July 4: Independence Day
September 2: Labor Day
October 14: Indigenous Peoples' Day/Columbus Day
November 5: Election Day
November 11: Veterans' Day
November 28: Thanksgiving Day
December 25: Christmas Day
January 1, 2025: New Year's Day
Applying to Visit
Applications to visit the collection must be made in writing at least six weeks in advance of the visit; please do not make travel arrangements to New York City until we have approved your collections visit. Every attempt will be made to accommodate your preferred visit dates but those dates are subject to staff availability. First-time visitors should make their request via a letter with an institutional letterhead. In addition, students should provide a letter of reference from their graduate or undergraduate advisor, also on institutional letterhead.
Letters of application and reference should be directed to the appropriate visitor contact for the collection in question. The request should specify the purpose of the visit and the specimens to be examined, together with the proposed dates. Visits in excess of 10 working days' duration will be assessed according to the long-term availability of workspace in the collections.
Molding and Casting Specimens During a Visit
Permission to mold specimens while visiting the collections must be approved in advance. Requests to mold specimens should be in the form of a written proposal, sent at the same time as an application to visit the collection. Please review our policies on molding and casting specimens.
Visiting Multiple Departments
Visitors requesting access to more than one department at the Museum - for example, fossil mammals (Department of Vertebrate Paleontology) and the Department of Mammalogy - should be aware that Paleontology staff can only grant access to the Paleontology collections. Requests to visit other collections should be referred directly to the relevant department's visitor contact.
Visiting the Vertebrate Paleontology Archives
Arrangements for requesting visits to the Vertebrate Paleontology Archives can be found here.
Visitors will conduct research in the reading room of the Gottesman Research Library and Learning Center; visitor access to the Vertebrate Paleontology Archives room is not permitted.
Archives relating to the Invertebrate Paleontology collections are held by the Division of Invertebrate Zoology.
Visitors interested in archival materials related to Vertebrate Paleontology are also advised to contact the Gottesman Research Library archives, which have significant holdings of documents relating to paleontology at the Museum.
Generation of 3D Data
Generation of 3D data (by CT scan or other technologies) from Museum specimens is prohibited while visiting the collections unless prior written approval is granted. Please refer to the application guidelines for 3D data.
Imaging Museum specimens is limited to scientific use only. Images may not be used for commercial purposes without prior written consent from the Museum.
Destructive Sampling and Specimen Preparation
Both procedures are prohibited without prior written approval from the Museum. Application guidelines for destructive sampling and specimen preparation.