CSH archival and object collections are accessible in person by appointment only. A small amount of our collections are digitized and available online. For researchers looking into individuals, businesses, or properties, please view this guide of CSH collection resources.

See below for digitized material and instructions for making an in-person appointment.



Searchable finding aids for the Center’s archival collections. Over 100 are currently posted, with more continually being added. 



Digitized textual material, including maps, police mug books, police jail registers, city and county assessor map books, and public record indexes; and digitized audiovisual material, including KCRA and KOVR news film, home movies, other films, oral histories, and audio recordings.



Our searchable online catalog has around 75,000 entries from our collections, including photographs, objects, reference books, and reports. This is not a comprehensive catalog. Not all of the Center’s collections are searchable via this database. 



Film and Video

• Selections from our KCRA and KOVR collections
• Video Archive Masters Subject Catalog, which lists the most frequently requested film footage that has already been digitized

Sacramento History Online

This is a joint project of four Sacramento institutions to digitize items from their collections, documenting agriculture and transportation in the Sacramento region from the mid-19th to early 20th century. The U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services generously funded the project from 2001-2004 under the provision of the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) and the State Librarian.


Archival research in our Reading Room is by appointment only.

To make a research appointment, contact us at or 916-808-7072. Please review our Reading Room conditions of use.

Current Reference Hours
Tuesdays and Wednesdays: 9 am-12 pm and 1-4 pm.

To view artifacts by appointment, contact CSH Curator of History Christopher Smith at or 916-808-7072.


1. Can I walk into the Center for Sacramento History without an appointment and be provided access to your holdings?

No, research and access to collections at CSH is by appointment only. You must be scheduled for a research visit in our Reading Room in advance. Our Reading Room is located at our main office at 551 Sequoia Pacific Boulevard in Sacramento.

2. How will a reference consultation be conducted?

The reference consultation can be conducted via phone or email and is the first step in arranging an appointment for research. During the consultation, a CSH archivist will talk with you about your project, questions, or research needs in order to determine if we have the resources you need in our holdings and to identify the records that will need to be pulled for your visit. Once that is determined, we will make an appointment for you.

3. Do you have parking?

Yes, parking is free and plentiful in our lot.

4. What happens when I arrive for my appointment?

When you arrive, please use the glass door marked Reading Room to enter. It is located toward the middle of the building, to the left of our main entrance. Ring the bell at the door to be buzzed in.

Once inside, check in with the archivist staffing our front desk. We require all researchers to register and provide contact information and a personal ID. Providing this information helps us secure our collections and track institutional statistics.

We will ask that you store any personal items not needed for note-taking or photographing material in the lockers near the front desk. A padlock will be provided.

The archivist will then show you to your table and the material pulled for you.

5. Will the records I’ve requested be pulled in advance?

Yes, if specific records have been identified during the pre-appointment consultation, those will be pulled and ready for you when you arrive. Additional records can be pulled during your appointment. 

6. Are microfilm readers, public access computers, copy machines, and scanners available for public use?

Microfilm readers and public-access computers are available for visitor use. Copy machines and scanners are for staff use only. Staff can scan and photocopy material at visitor request for a fee.

7. Can I use my phone, camera, or handheld scanner to photograph/scan material?

Yes, personal phones, cameras, and small scanners are allowed for duplication in our Reading Room. Copyright law must be followed when duplicating material. Feeder scanners are not allowed.

8. Can I bring my laptop or tablet into the Reading Room?

Yes, laptops and tablets are allowed in the Reading Room.

9. Can I bring food, drinks, or my purse, backpack, or other personal items into the Reading Room?

Food and drinks are not allowed in the Reading Room. Bags and containers of any type are also not allowed in the reading room. This includes but is not limited to purses, backpacks, laptop bags, and briefcases. CSH provides lockers with padlocks for these items and your other personal property, like coats, books, notebooks, and umbrellas. CSH reserves the right to inspect any bag, container, or other personal property before it is removed from the premises. 

10. Do you have special tools I can use when handling archival material?

Yes, we have items like loupes, magnifying glasses, weights, and gloves for your use.

11. Do I have to wear gloves?

Only when handling photographic media like photographs and negatives. Please do not wear gloves when handling paper.

12. Can I use pens in the Reading Room?

No, pens are not allowed in the reading room. Researchers may use pencils, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices for note-taking. CSH provides pencils.

13. What forms of payment may I use to make reproductions of records while conducting research in the Reading Room?

We accept cash, check, and credit and debit cards.           

14. Are teams or groups of researchers allowed?

CSH allows research groups, with up to four researchers per group.