Using the Archives

Researcher Registration Form (PDF)

Please note: When accessing materials, certain types of information may not be available because of restrictions that protect the privacy rights of individuals or organizations, legitimate proprietary rights of the Museum, or for other reasons. However, the bulk of the collection is unrestricted and will be made available to researchers on a fair and equitable basis.

Before you Begin

Personal belongings such as coats, briefcases, handbags, etc. should not be placed on the research table; items used for research (i.e. pencils, paper, lap-top computers) are allowed.

Researchers will present a picture ID and fill out the Researcher Registration form (provided above) before accessing materials. This form includes an agreement to be signed that indicates that the researcher has read the Access Guidelines and a warning concerning copyright law. The Researcher Registration Form, along with a list of records pulled, will be kept on file by the Archivist.

Help Save our Collections

In order to preserve the institutional memory of the IMA and provide it as a research resource for future generations, we ask that these procedures be observed to protect these unique materials:

  • Wash hands before handling materials.
  • No drinking, eating or smoking is allowed.
  • Use only pencil or laptops for taking notes.
  • No marks may be added or erased, and no tracing or rubbing is permitted.
  • Remove only one folder at a time from a box and maintain the original order of the folders in the box and materials in the folder. Tip: Keep the folder flat on the table top and turn the pages as if they were a book, the order will be maintained and unnecessary wear will be prevented.
  • Please do not rearrange or remove materials from folders for any reason. Notify the Archivist if anything appears to be out of order.
  • Collection materials are non-circulating and may not be removed from the reading room without authorization.

Copying and Publishing

Warning concerning copyright law: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purposes 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.

All photocopying or other method of reproduction must be approved by the archives staff and in some cases the materials may be too fragile, too large, or have other restrictions which may prevent copying. The IMA Archives reserves the right to deny permission to copy collection materials at its discretion.

  • Supplying a copy is not an authorization to publish.
  • Permission to publish or reproduce in any form must be applied for separately. Please use the Reproduction Use Form.

Archives Reproduction Request Form (PDF)


Photocopies will be marked as “for research use only” and with the collection title and repository name, IMA Archives. The Reproduction Use Form listed above must be filled out and signed by the researcher.

  • Materials should be handled with care so as not to damage them.
  • No materials should be put through feeders on copiers but should be laid face down on the glass page by page.
  • Materials should not be pushed, folded, or otherwise forced to fit on the copier.
  • Photocopies should not be further reproduced or published.

Digital Cameras, Scanners, and other Digital Devices

Researchers may take digital photographs of IMA Archives materials for study purposes only, and as allowed by the IMA archives, based on the physical condition of the materials, copyright law, donor restrictions, and reading room rules. Before taking digital images, researchers must fill out the Digital Camera Use Form.

Digital Camera Use Form (PDF)

If researchers do not have a digital camera but would like digital files of archives materials, the archives can create low-res pdf digital reproductions for the same cost as photocopies. The images will be marked as “for research use only” and with the collection title and repository name, IMA Archives. These will not be publication quality images. Please see the Reproduction Use Policy for details associated with the use of images from archives materials. A Reproduction Use Form (provided above) must be filled out and signed by the researcher.

Reproduction Use Policy

The Museum owns the copyright to archival materials produced by the staff of the institution.

In the case of third party correspondence and manuscript collections, the Museum often has property right, not copyright, to letters, photographs, sound recordings, and other materials.

  • Authorization to publish or quote from manuscripts must be sought from the IMA Archives and the owner of the copyright (or the heirs, estate, or literary executor).
  • It is the responsibility of researchers to obtain permission from all copyright holders before publication.

A Reproduction Request Form must be filled out for each use request. The use agreement fees outlined in the Reproduction Fee Schedule are payable to the Indianapolis Museum of Art for permission to publish materials owned by the Museum.

Reproduction Fee Schedule (PDF)

The granting of permission to use material for publication does not absolve the publisher from securing permission from the copyright owners and payment of such additional fees as the copyright owners may require if the Indianapolis Museum of Art does not own the copyright or if the material is not in the public domain. The IMA Archives may require proof of copyright permissions in advance of providing or agreeing to use of reproductions. Users assume responsibility for questions of copyright and invasion of privacy that may arise from publication of the Indianapolis Museum of Art Archives materials.