We are glad to have researchers use our materials, and we have a reading room open to the public by appointment. We are unable to handle walk-ins due to staffing constraints. Please let us know what materials you are interested in seeing so that we can determine if they are currently accessible and available for research. Recording playback equipment is available for use, and audio/visual materials can be used depending on the format and the preservation status. One-of-a-kind fragile recordings cannot be used without advance notice; Archives staff will need to make a compact disc reference copy of the recording for your use. There are a number of obsolete formats which cannot presently be played or viewed in the Archives, particularly obsolete video formats.
The Archives has a library of commercial LPs, 45s, 78s, cassettes, and CDs of sounds of the world from other recording companies available for listening. There is an in-house database listing our holdings. At some point in the future we hope to have more database information available online.
We have binders of photographs, slides, and contact sheets from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in addition to the Diana Davies Photograph Collection and Robert C. Malone Photograph Collection, for which finding aids are available. There are also photographs associated with the different record labels in our archival collections. We have a small library of serials and monographs related to folklore, ethnomusicology, anthropology, musicology, and the music business available for use. We have a photocopy machine which is available free of charge. Copies of manuscripts can be done depending on their preservation status.
You can make an appointment to visit the Rinzler Archives by calling 202.633.7322 or emailing email@example.com.