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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.

Library COVID-19 Procedures

The Maryland Center for History and Culture is happy to welcome researchers back to our H. Furlong Baldwin Library. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and health and safety guidelines, we have implemented some new procedures aimed at keeping our staff and visitors safe.

main reading room 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.

Main Reading Room 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.

Preparing for your visit

  • All research visits (Main Reading Room and Special Collections) are available by appointment only to limit capacity for health and safety. Main Reading Room appointments are available Wednesday through Saturday between the hours of 10am-3pm. Special Collections appointments are available Wednesday through Friday and the second Saturday of each month between the hours of 10am-3pm. Please note: Hours are limited at this time to ensure proper cleaning and sanitization at the end of each day.
  • Research appointments should be made via the library appointment request form, and must be submitted at least 72 hours in advance. Email with any questions about research visits.
  • Due to capacity limits in the library, if you have need for a multi-day Special Collections research visit, we ask you to please limit your visit at this time to a maximum of two consecutive days.
  • Use the appointment request form to identify which materials or topics you would like to see during your visit. Provide call numbers and/or collection numbers to help us facilitate your research request.
  • After submitting a library appointment request please check your email inbox for a message from our staff confirming your visit. Appointments are not confirmed until receiving verification from staff.

In the library

  • Seating will be assigned to maintain appropriate distance between researchers.
  • Researchers must wear masks for the duration of their visit in the library and maintain 6-foot distance from others.
  • We ask researchers to wash their hands before entering the library and when returning from any breaks.
  • Photocopying will be done by staff only. We encourage camera usage for personal research purposes.
  • Select microfilm machines will be available for use.
  • One computer station will be available for searching the library catalog and findings aids, as well as several subscription databases and other digital resources. Wi-fi is available and we encourage you to bring a laptop if you’d like to do online searching during your visit.
  • Cancel or do not make an appointment if you or someone in your household:
    • Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
    • Has been recently (within 14 days) exposed to a symptomatic or infected person.
    • Been asked to self-quarantine.
  • Symptomatic researchers will be asked to leave immediately.

what we’re doing to keep you safe

  • Limiting capacity in the library.
  • Quarantining all materials used during research visits for 72 hours.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting library surfaces and high-touch areas, including public computers and microfilm machines before and after use.
  • Staff and all visitors are required to wear masks at all times in the library.


Members: Free
Non-members: $6

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.

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.

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)
  • Pencils
  • Paper or notepad (to be reviewed prior to exiting the library)
  • Cameras (photography is permitted for personal use only, not distribution or publication)
  • 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
  • Pens
  • 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 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. Please Note: At this time, as part of our COVID policies, all photocopying will be done by staff only.

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.

Microfilm readers

Microfilm and microfiche readers readers are available for the use of micrographic materials. Note: Until further notice, only two microfilm readers are currently available as per our COVID-related policies.

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. Note: Until further notice, only one computer station is available as per our COVID-related policies.

Please ask at the Special Collections desk for the wireless password.