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Department of Anthropology

Mexican masks in storage

Please read and acknowledge your acceptance of this policy before proceeding to the Appointment Request Form, below.

The Department of Anthropology can accommodate only a limited number of visitors each month. At times, parts of the collection will be inaccessible or staff unavailable to assist visitors. To avoid disappointment, visitors are advised to request an appointment at least one month in advance.

  • Visitors in collections areas must be accompanied by a staff member. Therefore, access is provided only by appointment, during normal business hours, Monday – Friday, 9 - 4:30, excluding federal holidays.
  • Researchers must be at least 18 years old. Visits or tours for children ages 13-17 are only permitted by special advance appointment and adult chaperones must be present. Children under the age of 13 are not permitted.
  • Visitors may only access the specific objects or collections they requested. Casual browsing and additional spontaneous requests cannot be accommodated.
  • Backpacks, bags, food, beverages, water bottles, and most personal items are not permitted in collections storage areas. Lockers are available for these items.
  • Staff will advise visitors on object handling and inventory procedures. We may restrict handling of fragile and unwieldy objects. Those who fail to comply with procedures and instructions from staff will be denied further access to the collections.
  • During the late 19th and early 20th century, it was common practice in museums to treat objects with pesticides in an effort to protect them from damage by insects and rodents. Please consult the NMNH statement on pesticide treatments for more information and handling precautions.
  • A copy is requested of any publication or thesis, if material from the collections is used as an integral or major part of the research. Please credit material used in publications to the Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution.
  • Photographs of artifacts in the collections may be taken with staff permission, given time and space limitations. The Department reserves the right to limit views taken if additional handling would cause damage to a fragile object. Visitors must provide all their own photographic equipment.
  • Photographs taken by visitors are for personal and research use only. Clearance for any other use, including publication, exhibition, website, or general distribution in any medium, must be secured by submitting a Permission Request Form to the Collections Manager.
  • Our Image Ordering and Use page outlines policies and procedures for obtaining and using images produced by Smithsonian staff. Permission to publish in print or online may be obtained by submitting a Permission Request Form to the Collections manager.


I have read this policy and agree to abide by the regulations governing access to the collections of the Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution.

Yes, I agree to these terms
  > Appointment Request Form

No, I do not agree

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