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.  We have allocated additional staff resources to migrating more of our collections to the public digital space – requiring ongoing processing, cataloging, and digitization of large portions of our collections – we have also increased the efficiency by which researchers can physically access the research archives.  

Physical access to the Research Archives is now managed through a fee-based appointment system, with discounts for SDHC Members. Any questions may be emailed to [email protected]. Please note that the SDHC special collections receive many reference and research questions on a daily basis and we strive to respond in a timely manner.

Read more about Public Access to the Research Archives

Onsite Research Services:

Individuals, businesses and commercial clients can schedule an onsite appointment with Collections staff. SDHC Archivist offers hands-on personal assistance, minimum 2 hours:

  • $75/hr SDHC Member
  • $90/hr Non-Member

Onsite Appointment Request Form

Community Research Access Days:

Community members and students have the opportunity to physically access the Research Archives four times per year during one of the scheduled Community Research Access Days.

Please see program details and make a reservation request here:

Community Research Day Saturday, 03 August, 2024
Community Research Day Saturday, 19 October, 2024

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

SDHC Statement about Public Access to the Research Archives

New digital image collection now available

Visit to search, research, purchase and download .digital images and documents.  Thousands of additional images and photos from the SDHC collections to select from .

“Support for the San Diego History Center’s Digital Collections Initiative is made possible by a generous grant from Karen and Bob Bowden and the Bowden Family Foundation”

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.