Hours, Directions, Visitor Procedures & Fees at the Pennsylvania State Archives

Wednesday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m (no original records pulled from 12.00-1.00pm and call slips for all materials must be submitted by 11:45am prior to the lunch hour or 3:30pm at the end of the day).
Saturday ( microfilm use only ), 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon,
1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Closed on all Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and State Holidays.

The Pennsylvania State Archives will be CLOSED on the following days:

Friday, July 3, 2015 and
Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Pennsylvania State Archives, with its distinctive marble tower, is located in the capital city of Harrisburg on the southeast corner of North Third and Forster Streets, just north of the State Capitol and adjacent to the State Museum of Pennsylvania.

Entrance to Pennsylvania State Archives, HarrisburgThe entrance to State Archives offices and the Search Room is in the one-story building off the sidewalk leading from the Forster Street side of the corner to the State Museum Building.

A set of three metal gates facing Third Street marks the entrance to the State Archives. Enter the center gate and proceed through the courtyard to the entrance. Upon entering the Archives lobby, a staff member will greet you and be available to assist you.

Parking options are:

1.) Metered street parking on Third and Forster Streets ($.75 for 15 minutes, or $3.00 per hour. Meters run Monday thru Saturday). We suggest that you bring enough change to accommodate your needs as we are unable to provide change. Meters are monitored closely throughout the day. If you choose to park in nearby unmetered spaces, please be aware of restrictions such as street cleaning, snow removal, or permit-required parking for residents during certain hours.

Please note: for patrons visiting the Archives on Saturdays, any spaces that are marked for Commonwealth employee parking around the Capitol Complex are open to anyone for free parking.  That includes North Street (directly on the opposite side of the State Museum from Forster Street), Commonwealth Avenue, and the spaces around Soldiers Grove.    It does NOT apply to spaces marked for Capitol Police – you will find some of those on North Street and in front of the Capitol on Commonwealth Avenue.

2.) One of Harrisburg's many parking garages.  Visit the Harrisburg Parking Authority's page and click on the "Facility Locations" button to see a full list of options. The 7th Street and South Street Garages are physically closest to the Archives, click on the "Click for Map" link on the Parking Facilities page to view the exact locations of the garages.

Keep this phone number handy and call us if you need further directions when you arrive in Harrisburg: (717) 783-3281.

Driving Directions:

From I-83:

Second Street Exit
North on Second Street (1.5 miles)
Right at light onto Forster Street
Archives ahead on right across Third Street

From U.S. Rt. 11/15:

East over Harvey Taylor Bridge into Harrisburg
Straight on Forster Street
Archives ahead on right across Third Street

From I-81:

Front Street exit (south)
South on Front Street into Harrisburg
Left at light onto Forster Street (at Taylor Bridge)
Archives ahead on right across Third Street

From Pennsylvania Turnpike:

Take Harrisburg East Exit #247
Take I-283 North
I-83 South to Harrisburg Second Street Exit
North on Second Street 1.5 miles
Right at light onto Forster Street
Archives ahead on right across Third Street


Search Room Hours

The Pennsylvania State Archives is open Wednesday-Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; and Saturday 9:00 to 12:00 am and 1:00 to 4:00 pm, excluding State holidays. Original records are not pulled on weekdays from 12.00-1.00pm; only microfilmed records are available on Saturdays.


Quarter-operated lockers are available in the lobby for personal belongings. Items such as coats, hats, handbags, hip packs, briefcases, books, computer cases, and pens are prohibited in the Search Room. A locker will be assigned by the receptionist when registering or upon request. Please bring a quarter to deposit in the locker when you remove the key; the quarter will be returned automatically when the key is replaced.


Visitors using original records in the Manuscript Reading Room will be asked to complete a registration form and show a photo ID with a current address as proof of identification beginning their research. The registration form is available at the receptionist's desk, and when completed, is given to the Search Room archivist.

Visitors using microfilm records in the Microfilm Reading Room are simply asked to sign the register when entering and leaving for the day. No registration form is required; however, if both original records and microfilm are used, a form must be completed before using original records.

Research Procedures

The Archives' Search room is divided into two separate sections, with one designated for the use of records on microfilm, and one for the use of original records. Many of the more commonly used records are found on microfilm, including Census Records, Land Records, County Records, Military Records, Naturalization Records, and Prison Records. Microfilm records are self-service, with microfilm readers and printers available for patron use. Indexes and handouts are available to facilitate research. Personal research materials should be kept with you at all times when using the Microfilm Reading Room.

Original records not found on microfilm are available for research in the Manuscript Reading Room. Call slips are filled out by the patron with the assistance of the archivist on duty, one for each box, volume or loose item requested. Materials are retrieved by staff for the patron, four containers at time, with an emphasis on careful handling and preservation. No pens or additional notes, other than one folder or notebook of reference materials, are permitted in the Manuscript Reading Room. Original records are not pulled on weekdays from 12.00-1.00pm.  Call slips for records to be retrieved before noon must be turned in by 11.45am.

Portable computers and digital cameras (without flashes) are permitted. A "Use of Reproductions" form must be completed when photographs are taken for publication. Portable scanning devices, however, are not allowed; all scanning or photocopying of archival documents must be done by Archives staff. To use other special equipment such as a voice recorder, photography flashes or special lighting, please secure prior permission from an archivist. Special arrangements may need to be made prior to your visit. Free Wi-Fi is available in research areas.

For more detailed information, consult our search room rules.

Microfilm Reader/Printer Copies

Copies of microfilmed records may be made at our self-service microfilm reader/printer machines at the rates noted below. These machines can generate paper copies and they allow the option of transferring images to an approved flash/USB drive that must be purchased on site. Payment for copies must be with cash in the exact amount or by check or money order payable to the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." PLEASE NOTE: The staff cannot make change for bills larger than twenty dollars. 

Archival Assistance

An archivist will be available in the Manuscript Reading Room for assistance in locating and retrieving materials and to provide general reference guidance. The Microfilm Reading Room is designed to be self-service. Guides and handouts explaining many of the commonly-used records on microfilm are available to assist in research.

Finding Aids

Most State Archives descriptive listings and topical research guides are available on our website, and you can maximize your research time here by consulting these online resources at home, prior to your visit. Paper copies of guides and handouts are available in both the Microfilm and Manuscript Reading Rooms. Guides to the microfilm are found on the tables in the Microfilm Reading Room and on the top of the film cabinets. Select published sources are located on the reference bookshelves. Additional published materials, including county and family histories, are available at the State Library.


Children are welcome at the Archives; those under the age of 14 should be accompanied by an adult. Disruptive children (or adults) may be asked to leave.

Food and Drink

No food, drink, or smoking is permitted in the lobby or research areas. A water fountain is located in the lobby.

Rest Rooms

Rest rooms are found in the locker areas at either end of the lobby.

Which Reading Room to Choose

Visitors may make use of both the Microfilm and Manuscript Reading Rooms as needed, although different registration and security procedures apply to the two rooms. Here is a general breakdown of what types of materials are available in each area:





Effective July 1, 2013

The State Archives reserves the right to determine the appropriate method for producing copies of the records in its possession. If no safe methods are available, the Archives reserves the right to deny copying services for that particular item. Payment for research and copy services must be made by check or money order payable to the COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA. Prices are subject to change without notice. State Agencies, teachers utilizing archival resources for classroom use, and History Day student projects are eligible for discounts on xerographic services.

***All research requests and copy orders must be prepaid.

***Research and copy requests will be handled in the order in which they are received, regardless of means of transmission. Allow 6-8 weeks for processing.

*** Please do NOT send money for copies or other types of output until an Archives staff member confirms the extent of our findings for you and provides you with a total cost. Checks for incorrect amounts cannot be processed and will be returned.


STANDARD RECORDS SEARCHES [indexed records only]

Pennsylvania Residents: $15.00 per name or item
Non-Pennsylvania Residents: $25.00 per name or item

The staff of the State Archives will search for ONE name or item in ONE indexed series of records for each research payment. In the case of records that span several years, for example the campaign finance files, a search fee must be paid for EACH year to be searched. The fee (which is nonrefundable) includes the cost of standard photocopying for up to10 (ten) 8.5" x 11" xerox or reader-printer pages. If the search identifies more than 10 pages to be copied, or if the pages are oversized and have special copying requirements, Archives staff will contact the requester regarding the additional costs involved. The copies will be mailed upon receipt of payment in full. All research requests and copy orders must be prepaid. Genealogical search requests may be submitted using our Mail Reference Order Form.

SPECIAL SEARCHES [unindexed records]

If you are unable to visit the State Archives, the staff will conduct research in its holdings of original records for any request not covered under the Standard Search criteria, for an hourly fee. Special searches are subject to the following conditions:

1.   The requester must use the Archives website to select the record series to be checked.

2.   A separate fee will be charged for each name, term or subject to be searched.

3.   An initial, nonrefundable $50.00 fee must be paid to initiate research in a series.

4.   If after the completion of one hour of research Archives staff feels that an additional research is warranted, the requester will be notified and research will continue after further payment is received.

5.   Each $50.00 fee will be understood to cover up to one hour of research or any part of an hour and includes the cost of copying up to 10 pages of material per fee. The fees are nonrefundable and will not be prorated if the search takes less than an hour.

6.   Staff will not search county records or federal census records on microfilm.

Should patrons decide not to avail themselves of this service, they can utilize a list of researchers for hire housed on the State Library's website by following the preceding link and then choosing the "Researcher's List (PDF)" link.  These researchers do not work for the Archives or the Library, and their presence on the list should not be construed as an endorsement of their reliability. You must arrange your own terms with them. If you do not have access to the Internet, a copy of the list can be mailed to you upon request.



Uncertified Copies of Birth and Death Records currently open to the public

$5.00 per record (must provide name, year, and certificate number)

If the year or certificate number is not known:

$15.00 per record search for Pennsylvania Residents

$25.00 per record search for non-Pennsylvania Residents

Copies of Birth and Death Records made for patrons visiting the State Archives will be subject to the pricing below for regular xerographic copies.

Use the Birth and Death Records Order Form to order copies.  


Application for Warrant, State Land Warrant, Survey, Land Patent, Etc.
Uncertified - $3.00 per record
Certified - $18.00 per record

Use the
Land Records Order Form (PDF, 108K) to order copies.


Xerographic Copies of Original, Loose Documents (bound records cannot be photocopied this way--see "Digital Scanning" below)
8.5" x 11" - $0.50 page
8.5" x 14" - $0.50 page
11" x 17" - $1.00 page
* same day on-site service may be limited to 25 pages

Paper Copies from Microfilm (Reader-Printer Copies)
8.5" x 11" - $0.50 page ($0.25 self-service)
8.5" x 14" - $0.50 page ($0.25 self-service)
11" x 17" - $1.00 page ($0.50 self-service)

Oversized Copies on Standard Engineering Copier
Black-and-white copies on plain paper for items up to 36" wide - $6.00 per linear foot
Rolled railroad drawings and maps will be charged a flat $30 rate per item.
NO BLUEPRINTS can be copied in this way. See the section on digital scanning. See the section on "Digital Scanning" below.

Certified Copies
Copy with a gold seal, Commission imprint and Archives statement of authenticity - $15.00 per record in addition to copy cost

Transcription of Record
Transcription of record by Archives staff - $25.00 per page in original record


Microfilm Duplication
35mm silver positive copy - $70.00
35mm diazo negative copy - $50.00
16mm silver positive copy - $60.00
16mm diazo negative copy - $40.00

Microfilming of Original Records
Subject to the priorities of the State Archives, researchers may request the microfilming of original materials in the collections. An entire records series or file must be filmed for an order. The patron copy is a 35mm diazo negative.
Filming - $0.25 per image
Master film stock - $24.00 per roll
Processing - $12.00 per roll
*The cost of patron film duplicates and shipping & handling will be additional.

Digital Copies of Microfilm
Scans of entire roll - $0.50 per image
Scans of selected frames - $10.00 per image
Retrieval of master negative - $20.00 per roll
Service fee - $35.00 per order


All searches for photographs are subject to the Standard and Special Search fees noted above. Photographs of State Archives holdings, whether taken by visitors or staff, may be subject to USE FEES .

The use of digital cameras by patrons in the search room is allowed under the following conditions, and any photographs taken by patrons are to be used for personal use ONLY:

·        Attendants will determine if materials are suitable for digital photography

·        No flash photography is allowed

·        Items being photographed must be handled properly

·        Patrons may not occupy more than one workstation's space. If more space is needed, an appointment is required and a $50.00-per-hour fee will be charged for this service.

·        Photographs taken for commercial or non-profit institutional use is prohibited unless a "Use of Reproductions" form is completed by the researcher and any applicable use fees are applied.


*Reproductions of audiovisual and electronic State Archives holdings may be subject to USE FEES .

Electronic Media Storage Device
No hardware charge for file delivery on CD, DVD, e-mail or FTP site
Flash drive (4 GB capacity) - $15.00

Duplication of Existing Electronic Files
Setup Fee - $10.00 per order
$5.00 per file (includes CD, DVD, e-mail transmission or placement on FTP site)

Setup Fee - $50.00 per order
Conversion from standard video to digital - $25.00 per half hour (includes DVD, e-mail transmission or placement on FTP site)
Special needs on a case-by-case basis - $50.00 plus fee charged by service provider

Setup Fee - $50.00 per order
Conversion from standard audio to digital - $25.00 per half hour (includes DVD, e-mail transmission or placement on FTP site)
Special needs on a case-by-case basis - $50.00 plus fee charged by service provider


*Digital scans of State Archives holdings may be subject to USE FEES .

Color Scans of Loose Images and Textual Documents (up to 12" x 17" unbound originals, photo prints, slides and negatives)
Setup Fee - $10.00 per order
$5.00 per scan

Grayscale Scans on Overhead Book Scanner for Bound and Slightly Oversized Items (up to 17" x 23" originals, black and white only)
Setup Fee - $10.00 per order
$5.00 per scan (includes print on 11" x 17" paper)

Color Scans of Oversized Loose Items (larger than 12" x 17")
Setup Fee - $20.00 per order
$10.00 per linear foot

Paper Copies of Digital Images
Standard paper, up to legal size (8.5" x 14") - $7.00 per print
Standard paper, oversized - $8.00 per square foot
Glossy paper, up to legal size (8.5" x 14") - $13.00 per print
Glossy paper, oversized - $16.00 per square foot

For an additional $25.00 per order, up to 5 items will be placed at the head of the copy queue and the patron will be given an approximate delivery time. Archives staff will keep the patron informed of the status of a rush order.

All reference, copying and conversion services not stated above will be quoted on a case-by-case basis.


Total of Order and Fee
$10.00 or less - $1.00
$10.01 to $100.00 - $7.00
$100.01 to $500.00 - $25.00
Over $500.00 - $40.00

Faxing Service - $5.00 per page

* * * * *

Your check or money order for the appropriate amount should be made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and forwarded to the address below. Payment is required before work will begin on your order. Please allow 6-8 weeks for completion and delivery of your order.

All holdings of the State Archives may be examined in the Archives Search Room. Located at Third and Forster Streets, Harrisburg, PA, the Archives is open to the public Wednesday-Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, and Saturday ( microfilm only ), 9:00 AM - 12:00 noon, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM, excluding State holidays. No fee is charged to review materials, and no appointment is necessary; however, advance notice is required when audio, video and restricted collections will be consulted.

All mail inquiries should be sent to:

Reference Section
Pennsylvania State Archives
350 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0090
Telephone: (717) 783-3281