Research Archives


Open to the public, the Research Archives provides access to the Photograph Collection and the Document Archives, the region’s largest collection of historical materials covering hundreds of years of San Diego history. The Document Archives houses 45 million documents: public and architectural records, books, maps, scrapbooks, manuscripts, newspapers, ephemera, diaries and the Oral History Collection. The extensive historic Photograph Collection has over 2 ½ million images. The Research Archives serves students, historians and the general public onsite and online.

For information on the History Center’s Collections:

Document Archives                Object Collection

Photograph Collection           Historic Clothing Collection

Oral History Collection          San Diego Art Collection

The Research Archives is on the lower level of the San Diego History Center, in the Casa de Balboa.
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 232- 6203 x 117 or x 123 or
For a location map: Balboa Park Map 

Monday & Tuesday (9am-5pm) – One-on-One Appointments Only
Wednesday – Friday (9:30am-1pm) – Walk-In Research – No Appointment Necessary
Wednesday – Friday (1:30pm-5pm) – One-on-One Appointments Only


  • Due to building maintenance, the Research Archive will be open from 1:00 to 4:30pm on Wednesday December 19th.
    We will resume regular hours the following day 9:30 am to 1:00 pm.
  • The Research Archives will be closed on Friday, December 21 and Friday, December 28 for the Holiday Season.
    We will resume regular hours the following week, Wednesday to Friday, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm.

    Happy New Year!


The Archives welcomes students to do research. Children grades K-7 should be accompanied by an adult. The Archives may not be suitable for children under 6. For information about what to expect when visiting the Archives: Archive Policies (pdf)

ADMISSION We invite the public to research our region’s history in the SDHC Research Archives during walk-in research hours without paying a traditional admission price. Your admission to our research archives has been donated by a generous supporter. After visiting our archives, we invite you to GIVE FORWARD to a future researcher and support their visit. Our suggested minimum donation is $10.00.

RESEARCH SERVICES The Research Archives provides public access to the History Center’s Photograph Collection and Document Archives, which combined are the region’s largest collection of historical materials covering hundreds of years of San Diego history.

Scholars, students, professional researchers, and the general public may visit us in person. For those who can visit but require more individual research help, we offer One-on-One research appointments for an hourly fee. In addition to providing reference assistance in the reading room, the History Center offers Remote Research Services for patrons who would like our professional staff to research specific items on their behalf. Fees for remote research are hourly. For full details on Research Services, click here: Research Services. All fees from research services go directly to support the San Diego History Center and maintaining our collections.

For questions or more information, contact: or (619) 232-6203.

GROUP ARCHIVES TOURS For information about student tours: School Programs