Plan Your Visit
Welcome to the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Center for History and Culture. Whether you are conducting scholarly research, delving into your family history, or simply looking to learn more about Maryland people, places, and events, we have an incredible collection of primary and secondary source materials waiting for you.
Hours and Admission
Please Note: Due to ongoing renovations, the H. Furlong Baldwin Library will be reopening on Wednesday, October 7. In response to COVID-19 and to ensure the health and safety of our staff and visitors, we are requiring appointments for all library visits. To prepare for our reopening, we are updating our materials handling and cleaning policies, as well as our appointment scheduling form. Please check back for the updated form. We look forward to your return!
General Collections Hours
Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. — 3 p.m. (by appointment only and new limited hours due to COVID-19)
The library closes for lunch on Saturdays, 12 — 1 p.m.
General Collections include reference and history books, microfilm, and genealogical resources.
Special Collections Hours
Wednesday — Friday and the second Saturday of each month, 10 a.m. — 3 p.m. (by appointment only and new limited hours due to COVID-19)
Special Collections include manuscripts, photographs, rare books and pamphlets, maps, and other archival materials.
Note: The library admission fee provides access to the museum. If you are a frequent visitor to the H. Furlong Baldwin Library, consider a membership to the Maryland Center for History and Culture, which provides access to the library and museum, among other benefits. Learn more about becoming a member.
Planning Your Research
You can search our Library Catalog for general topics, specific names, or places. Catalog entries indicate if material is part of the Special Collections Reading Room or the Main Reading Room. When you make your library appointment, the form will ask whether you are conducting Special Collections or Main Reading Room research. If you are conducting Special Collections research, please use the form to list your requested collections.
When available, catalog entries provide links to more detailed finding aids, often with box and folder inventories of materials. Browse or search our Finding Aids Database to further explore Special Collections materials. Our Research Guides are also a helpful resource for pinpointing materials on a variety of Maryland history topics.
Making a Special Collections Appointment
Please check back for our updated appointment form. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 we are requiring appointments for all library visits.
Please submit your request form at least 48 hours in advance. The form asks for a preferred date and time for your research, along with a back-up date and time. A library staffer will confirm your appointment by email. Note: the library is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The appointment request form also asks you to list your requested collections, providing collection and box numbers. If you do not have a specific collection in mind, please identify what types of material and/or subjects you are interested in. Example: Prints of the Enoch Pratt house.
Starting Your Visit
Enter the Maryland Center for History and Culture through the Park Avenue or Monument Street entrances. When you arrive, check in at the Visitors Services desk. Read more about directions and parking.
First-time researchers must complete a registration form and present a current photo ID. When you arrive for subsequent visits, let the Visitor Services staff know you are a return library visitor. Staff will check you in and ask you to leave backpacks and larger bags in the downstairs lockers. We suggest you take your wallet with you and secure it in our second floor lockers, closer to the library.
Take the stairs or elevator to the second floor. A locker room is outside the library for storage of additional items. Enter the H. Furlong Baldwin Library and check in with staff at the reference desk.
What to Bring (and Not Bring)
Items allowed in the library:
- Laptops (we will ask you to open these prior to any exit from the library)
- Paper or notepad (to be reviewed prior to exiting the library)
- Cameras (see our Personal Camera Policies for more information)
- Cell phones with ringer and flash off
- Sweater or sweatshirt (the library remains relatively cool throughout the year; please keep any outerwear, however, in the locker room)
The following items are NOT allowed in the library:
- Bags of any kind (purses, backpacks, laptop cases, etc.)
- Zippered notebooks or closed portfolios
- Food and drink
- Personal copiers and scanners
- Umbrellas, jackets, hats, and other outerwear (these can be stored in the locker room)
Library Collections and Special Policies
To ensure the integrity of our collections for future generations, we enforce strict security protocols and ask our researchers to aid us in the preservation and protection of our materials.
Please note that activity in library areas is monitored and recorded on video.
General Library Policies
- No library materials may be removed from the Reading Room.
- No marks may be added to or erased from any library materials.
- Researchers will be asked to use microfilm or other reproductions where such editions exist.
- Eating and drinking are prohibited in the library.
- Staff will review paper materials before any exit from the library. Laptop computers must be opened and presented to staff.
Additional Policies and Guidelines Applicable to Special Collections
- Special Collections materials are available for research by appointment only.
- Researchers are asked to submit collection requests through the Appointment Request Form ahead of their visit.
- Additional materials may be requested on site (up to three items or boxes at a time). Please submit one request card for each collection or item you wish to consult. Collections will be pulled on the hour, so please plan your research accordingly.
- Special Collections materials must be used in the designated area.
- Researchers may remove only one folder from a box at a time, using the marker provided. Folders must be kept flat on reading tables.
- Researchers should preserve the existing order and arrangement of all materials. Errors in filing or labeling should be reported to the staff.
- No object may be laid on top of materials. Notepaper and laptops must be used on the tabletop next to Special Collections material.
- Researchers must use gloves when handling photographs and book cradles when handling rare books and bound manuscripts.
- Permission to publish must be obtained in writing from the Special Collections Department. In giving permission to publish a manuscript, the Maryland Center for History and Culture does not surrender its own right thereafter to publish the manuscript or to grant permission to others to publish it, nor does the MCHC assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or of literary or publication rights to the manuscript held by others.
Computers, microfilm readers, and copiers are available to facilitate your research.
A standard copy machine is available in the Main Reading Room. Photocopying of General Collections materials, including microfilm, is self-service and 25 cents per page.
Special Collections materials must be photocopied by library staff. Copying of these materials is 50 cents per page. If possible, we will photocopy your order the same day; otherwise, please allow up to four weeks for copying and mailing.
Please be aware that entire collections cannot be photocopied. In addition, typically only stable unbound documents no larger than 11″ x 17″ can be copied. Library staff reserve the right to deny photocopying requests if merited by the condition of materials. If a request is declined for these reasons, digital imaging will be recommended.
Please note: photocopying of Special Collections photographic material, including but not limited to print collections, negatives and slides, is not permitted. Digital reproductions can be requested from our Imaging Services Department.
Notice Regarding Copyright: The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.
Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.
Seven microfilm readers and two microfiche readers are available for the use of micrographic materials.
Computers and wi-fi
Two computer stations are provided for patron use inside the library. Computer stations can access the MCHC online catalog and finding aids, as well as several subscription databases and other digital resources.
Please ask at the Special Collections desk for the wireless password.