San Diego History Center in Balboa Park reopens April 16 Junípero Serra Museum in Presidio Park reopens April 17


SDHC Research Services

The Research Archives provides access to the photograph collection and our special collections, the region’s largest collection of historical materials, covering hundreds of years of San Diego history.

To discover our holdings, please check out our online catalog, archival manuscript collections, the Journal of San Diego History, Guides to the Special Collections, and online photostore.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to accommodate in-person visits. If you have a research query, please complete this form.

About Remote Research Services:

1. The SDHC special collections receive many reference and research questions on a daily basis.

2. As a courtesy to those interested in our holdings, staff-conducted reference and research service fees are waived for the first 15 minutes.

3. For research requiring more than 15 minutes, there is an hourly fee of $50 per hour for non-members ($40 per hour for members, with a free hour of research once yearly.) Staff will notify you if your research request requires more than 15 minutes.

4. This fee is for staff time, and is due regardless of whether or not the desired information is located. Results of searches are not guaranteed and fees are refundable only if staff determines that the request is beyond the scope of the service at the outset of the research.

5. Each half-hour of paid research includes up to five (5) standard-sized photocopies or scans at 300 dpi. Additional photocopies or scans require additional charges at $0.50 per page.

6. This search is limited to one, well-defined, individual topic or question. Please submit one request at a time. We will check relevant resources and if additional research time is required you will be contacted for approval. A written response of the findings will be sent by email.

7. The average turnaround time for research requests may take up to four weeks. Turn-around time is generally 5 to 10 work days, depending on size and complexity of the order and the department’s workload. Expedited orders are possible for an additional fee equal to 100% of the standard fees. NO WORK IS BEGUN UNTIL PAYMENT IS RECEIVED.

For all other inquiries, please email special collections and we’ll do our best to assist you. Collections:

Additional Resources

Resource list for conducting your own research.

 FAQ list for Appraisals, Restoration and Conservation.

If you are interested in donating an artifact, please use our Donate an Artifact form.


1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA 92101
The Special Collections and Research Archives located at the lower level of the San Diego History Center, in the Casa de Balboa.