Collections and Research Policies

While the Cornwall Historical Society (CHS) strives to provide researchers with access to the contents of all our collections, the preservation of our unique materials is our primary concern. To that end, we enforce strict security protocols. Please familiarize yourself with our policies and procedures so that you can make the most of your visit to CHS.

Visiting the CHS

The collections are open by appointment to students, teachers, visiting researchers, and the general public. Appointments can be made via telephone, by calling (860) 672-0505, or by filling out this form.

At each visit, researchers will be required to sign-in. Personal belongings are discouraged in the research room. Researchers are welcome to use laptop and tablet computers. Laptop and tablet computers are welcomed to enable researchers to take notes. Researchers taking manual notes may use pencils. All other writing implements are strictly forbidden.

Backpacks, briefcases, purses, computer or other bags, notebooks, binders, food or drink, and outer clothing are not permitted in the research room. Outer clothing like sports coats, sweaters, and scarves may be worn in the research room but, once removed, must be hung on the coat rack.

Researchers may use a hand-held digital camera to create reference images of materials in our collections. Materials protected by copyright and materials in collections with use specific restrictions may not be photographed. Researchers must ask permission and obtain a form before photographing any CHS owned material. The camera’s flash and all sounds must be turned off before use in the library. Tripods, lighting enhancements, and scanners (both flatbed and hand-held) are not permitted. Any requests to take photographs may be denied if doing so will jeopardize the safety of our collections.

Access to Materials 

A request for access should be submitted in writing or by e-mail. Researchers are encouraged to identify which materials they would be interested in viewing by using our finding aid. To ensure long-term preservation of manuscript materials CHS researchers are required to use the photocopied or digital version of material from our collection when a surrogate copy exists. At the discretion of the Curator, original items may be viewed in lieu of their surrogate copy under direct supervision.

Time Limits

Because researchers to CHS must be supervised at all times, appointments are for two-hour increments only. Your items will be ready for you when you arrive. We are not able to pull additional items during your appointment time.

Unable to Visit the CHS

The Cornwall Historical Society offers remote research services by mail or email for those unable to visit in person. Generally, this service is free for services up to one hour. For services that exceed 60 minutes, a support fee of $25/hour will be charged. Please note, due to time and staff limitations, it may take up to three weeks for staff to respond. When submitting an inquiry, please send us a detailed email with your name and contact information. All requests are answered in the order they are received.