Reference and Research Services

The Archives is open for access and use by the general public as well as the internal Boston Children’s community. Hours for in-person research are by appointment only.

How to make a request

You are welcome to submit reference and research appointment requests to the Archives Program by email or phone.

All requests are attended to in the order in which they are received. Our program is small and the volume of requests we receive can vary; please allow up to two weeks for a response.

When contacting us, include as many specific details as possible such as:

  • Any deadline(s) you are working with
  • The desired end result of your research (published book or article, social media post, etc.)
  • Names of individual persons, departments and programs or other groups and organizations you are interested in.
  • A date or date range, even if approximate or estimated.
  • Specific topics such as an event, disease or condition.

The more specific you are in your initial request, the more efficiently we can assess what may be useful to you in the collections. An archivist will provide assistance to you in using the available finding aids and in locating relevant materials to your inquiry.

Please note:

  • Archivists do not conduct research on behalf of users, assist in the interpretation of any data or curate exhibits for individual departments.
  • The Archives does not handle patient or physician requests for medical records; contact Medical Records at 617-355-7546.
  • External researchers must receive permission from the current department head for departmental records that are less than 20 years old.
  • Records containing Protected Health Information (PHI) are restricted according to HIPAA regulations.

User Registration

Anyone external to the organization wishing to access materials (beyond what is made available online) must complete our registration process before visiting or receiving copies of materials.

Researchers will be asked to:

  • Complete a research application
  • Provide photo identification (such as a hospital ID, valid driver’s license, or passport
  • Once your application is approved by the archivist(s), review and agree to our user guidelines, and duplication policies (will be provided at time of registration).

Research Appointments

Hours for in-person research are by appointment only. Once registration is complete, an archivist will coordinate a time for your visit. Please contact us for an on-site research appointment at least one week prior to your desired start date. This time is needed to retrieve materials from offsite storage and ensure a secure research space is booked for your visit.