Our museums and archives are temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


Research Archives


The Research Archives provides access to the Photograph Collection and the Document Archives, the region’s largest collection of historical materials covering hundreds of years of San Diego history. The Document Archives houses 45 million documents: public and architectural records, books, maps, scrapbooks, manuscripts, newspapers, ephemera, diaries and the Oral History Collection. The extensive historic Photograph Collection has over 2 ½ million images. The Research Archives serves students, historians and the general public online.

For information on the History Center’s Collections:

Document Archives                Object Collection

Photograph Collection           Historic Clothing Collection

Oral History Collection          San Diego Art Collection

The Research Archives is on the lower level of the San Diego History Center, in the Casa de Balboa.
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA 92101

NOTE: Due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we are not accepting in-person appointments until further notice.

Give Forward is our donation-based admission policy. We don’t charge a fixed admission fee but look to your generosity to help make history accessible to all in our community, including those who otherwise may not be able to experience it. Suggested minimum donation: $5.


The Research Archives will be closed from December 11, 2020 to January 7, 2021. Remote Research Services will not be available during this time.

Remote Research Services will resume January 7, 2021. We appreciate your patience as we navigate the end of the year.

For requests from the Photo Store, the last day we can accept print orders up to 16″x20″ is December 21 for fulfilllment before December 23. For other enlargements, the last day we can accept print orders is December 17 for fulfillment before December 23. Orders received after those times will be fulfilled after January 4.

In-person Library and Research Resources are currently unavailable until further notice. While we are currently working on providing our visitors and researchers with digital access to our collections, under special circumstances, we are able to answer some questions via email or phone. Please email our Collections Department at collections@sandiegohistory.org for any questions related to the photo collection, document archives, and 3-D object collection, which includes historic clothing, fine art, and ephemera, furniture and objects of everyday life.

RESOURCE LIST FOR CONDUCTING YOUR OWN RESEARCH: Click Here to learn more about conducting your own research

RESEARCH RESOURCES: Curated by the San Diego History Center Collections/Archive Team, an FAQ list for Appraisals, Restoration and Conservation.

For questions or more information, contact: collections@sandiegohistory.org

For more information about Learn-At-Home Resources visit: SDHC Learn At Home