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Plan Your Visit to the Archives
Please plan ahead before your visit. You will need your driver license or other valid photo identification in order to access archival material.
Also, gather as much information as you can before you arrive to make the most of your visit. For example, know dates, places and government agencies related to your topic of research. Have specific records in mind. If you're looking for land records, know legal descriptions. Check our online guides and online indexes before you arrive.
If you are part of a large group who would like to visit the Archives of Michigan, please contact us in advance so we can plan to have reference archivists available to assist you.
When you arrive, our registration desk staff will check you in.
First time? Our staff will generate a photo ID card for you. The registration process takes five minutes or less, but please bring a photo ID with you. You will not be allowed to register without one.
Seasoned researcher at the Archives? Please bring the card with you and the registration process will only take a few seconds.
You can bring bags, purses, coats, pens, cameras and laptop cases into most areas of our reading room. If you request archival records, our staff will retrieve them and bring them to a separate viewing area where bags, purses, coats, pens, cameras or laptop cases are not allowed.
Library books and microfilm are in open stacks and cabinets for researchers to browse.
We have four public computers. You can use these to check our catalog for specific topics or books, and to access a full subscription to Ancestry as well as other online resources in your research.
Archival records can be requested through our reference staff. Because they were created in the course of conducting government business and not with historical research in mind, records are not always organized by name and are not all organized the same way.
A reference archivist is always available to answer questions you might have and show you how to use our guides, inventories, and indexes to find resources that may pertain to your research topic.
Please observe the following rules when viewing archives records. They exist to protect the records so they are available for years to come.
- No bags, purses, coats, pens, cameras or laptop cases are permitted in the viewing area.
- No pens.
- No cameras or scanners unless permission is granted by a reference staff member.
- Researchers should only have one volume or folder from a box out on a table at a time.
- Keep items within a folder in order. Indicate pages for copying by turning them up within a folder or using a folder marker available at each table.
- No more than two people at a table. The one at a time rule still applies.
You can bring in pencils, paper, and laptops without cases into the archival research area. You can leave other materials in the main part of our reading room or in free lockers available in the reception area.
Library Books and Microfilm
- Cameras and scanners can be used with library material.
- Digital scans can be saved to a USB drive attached to microfilm readers/printers.
- Electronic copies generated by researchers are free.
- Paper copies can be made by microfilm readers/printers and the self-service copier are available in the reading room.
- Paper copies are $0.20 per page.
- Payments for paper copies are on the honor system. Researchers are asked to tally paper copies at the end of the day and pay at the registration desk as they leave.
- We treat archival records differently from library material.
- Three iPads are available in the reading room for researchers to obtain copies of archival material. Researchers may not use personal devices to obtain copies of archival material.
- Paper copies from iPads are $.20 per page.
- Electronic copies from iPads are $.20 per page, up to $3.00 or 15 pages. Additional pages are free.
- Extra charges apply for photographic quality reproductions or copies of exceptionally large items, such as maps or blueprints.
Visitor parking is located south of the building, with a $5 daily rate on weekdays. Weekend parking is free. Buses park for free every day; please see instructions below. Visitors should use the Kalamazoo Street entrance, turning onto the circle drive to enter the visitor parking lot.
Additional public parking is available north of the building across Allegan Street (east of the Hall of Justice and Vietnam Memorial). However, the north entrance of the Michigan Library and Historical Center building is not accessible to people who cannot use stairs.
Tips on using the automated parking system:
- This is a no cash, no coins system.
- Swipe your Visa, MasterCard or Discover card to lift the entrance gate. You will not receive a spitter ticket.
Bus drivers: When you arrive, pull forward close to the entrance gate. Laser sensors will note your arrival and the gate will be opened from a remote location. This may take a moment, so please be patient. Buses never need to use a credit/debit card to open the gate. If there is a problem, please press the button on the gate for assistance. Park in the areas designated for bus parking. When exiting the lot, please follow the same procedure as when entering. The exit gate is located across the lot from the entrance gate.
The following amenities are available at the Michigan Library and Historical Center:
- wireless access to the Internet.
- The Museum Store gift shop.
- A nursing room.
- A sick room.
The Archives of Michigan is located inside the Michigan Library and Historical Center. Designated accessible parking is available at the barrier-free south entrance of the building.