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Gelman Hours for GWorld Holders
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GELMAN 24 hours
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Planning Your Visit

The following guidelines will help make your visit to the Special Collections Research center efficient and productive.


The Special Collections Research Center is located on the seventh floor of the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library of George Washington University, 2130 H Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20052. We are open to the public, though non-GW visitors will be required to show a photo ID at the library entrance and inform entrance staff they are here to visit Special Collections.

The university's Our Location website offers maps, directions, local lodging and dining options, and more. The list of University parking areas, including visitor-specific spaces, may also be helpful.

We are conveniently located near the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metrorail stop (Blue, Orange, and Silver lines). Numerous bus lines which serve the central business district also provide access to the campus. For more information about public transportation, please check the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority website (aka "Metro") for timetables, stations, and bus stop locations.

How to Request Materials

1. Request material before you visit.  The majority of the archival and manuscript collections in the SCRC are housed offsite and require 3-5 business days for retrieval. A portion of our book collection is also stored offsite and must be requested in advance. Please note that some collections contain restricted material that cannot be provided to researchers according to our agreement with the donor and/or DC and federal law.

2. Select a reasonable amount of material.  The SCRC will place requests for up to 20 boxes per patron per research trip. If you are planning a long term research visit and know you will need to see more than 20 boxes, please speak with the staff member handling your request to determine a timeframe for placing a second box order.

3. Contact the SCRC to place your order.  The best way to reach us is via email at speccoll@gwu.edu, but you may also place box orders over the phone (202-994-7549) or in person at the SCRC reference desk. You will be contacted by a staff member when your boxes have arrived and are available for your use.

4. Provide detailed information. In order to fulfill your request for archival collections, we will need the collection call number (e.g. MS2044), title, and the series (if applicable) and box numbers of the material you wish to see. For books, maps, and other cataloged material, we'll need a title and call number, or a link to the library catalog record.

Collections Use Policy

The Special Collections Research Center and its collections are open to the GW community, external researchers, and the public. Please review the Collections Use Policy prior to your visit. All researchers must agree to these guidelines before using materials. 

For those patrons who are unable to visit, but have an in-depth research question, please see this list of local, independent researchers for hire, compiled by the U.S. National Archives.

Hours (Fall 2017)

Regular Hours Reading Room when classes are in session:

Monday: 10 - 5

Tuesday: 10 - 5

Wednesday: 10 - 8

Thursday: 10 - 5

Friday: 10 - 5

Saturday: 10 - 1, by appointment only. (email speccoll@gwu.edu to request an appointment)

*** Special Collections Holiday Hours***

Wednesday, December 27th: 10 - 6


Materials to be used must be requested in advance for Saturday visits.

Appointments are available on Saturdays for research between the hours of 10 am - 1 pm, except on holiday weekends.

Saturday appointments must be made no later than 5 pm the Wednesday before. To make an appointment, please email speccoll@gwu.edu or call 202-994-7549.

Gelman Library Hours and Holiday Closures

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