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Research Center Policies

The Oak Park River Forest Museum maintains its archive on behalf of the public.  To protect our historic materials for the community today and the future, we enforce the following policies:
  • No food, beverage, or chewing gum allowed in the Research Center.
  • To prevent permanent marking of research materials, the use of pen is prohibited in the research center. Pencils and laptop computers may be used.
  • All research materials must be handled with care. Please try to touch only the edges of documents. Gloves may be supplied when handling prints, photographs, broadsides, slides, and some architectural materials. Please do not touch the image surface of visual materials. DO NOT lick your fingers to turn pages.
  • When using research materials with loose pages, please leave folders flat on the table and keep all pages or photographs within the folder in the order in which they were found. Do not remove pages or photos from the folder.
  • Staff members can make photocopies for 25 cents a page. Photographic prints are available; cost depends on size and use. You will be asked to sign a use agreement limiting your use of the photo.
  • Please ensure your hands are clean before starting research.
  • Materials MUST remain on site; we are not a lending library.

Research Service

The Oak Park River Forest Museum will perform research for a fee for those unable to visit us in person. The charge is $25.00 per hour or $20.00 per hour for OPRF Museum members. There is a one-hour minimum. Photocopies are 25¢ each.  There is no charge for standard postage. Research requests are answered in the order they are received. Expected turn around time is 4–6 weeks. Users will receive a written report. If you require expedited service, contact us for more information on rush rates.

Before we can begin work, please:

  • Specify in writing your specific research needs, providing as much detail as possible.
  • Authorize the number of hours of research time (one-hour minimum).
  • Send payment for the number of hours authorized. We will adjust the final bill to reflect photocopies, less time required than authorized, etc.
  • Once we receive your written request, research time authorization, and pre-payment, you will receive a confirmation that your request as been added to the queue.

The scope of fee-based research services conducted by staff is limited to the collections and holdings of the Oak Park River Forest Museum and does not include any other physical or online research sources.  The Museum reserves the right to decline any research for fee request.

Photo Services

Our extensive photographic archives, including early twentieth century black and white photographs by bicycling photographer Philander Barclay, are also available for making high quality reproductions for your personal or business use.  Contact the Society for reproduction and photo use fees.  All photographs in our archives are copyrighted by The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest.  

Many of these photos can already be seen throughout town in local businesses.