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Schedule a Visit

The Othmer Library is open to researchers by appointment only.

  • Library research appointments are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Appointments must be made and confirmed 24 hours in advance.
  • Reference requests, research assistance, and copy services are available. Since many researchers are still affected by travel restrictions, we may waive fees for reasonable requests.

Research Inquiries

Make an Appointment

Before Visiting

  • While not required, you may request items in advance of your visit; materials will be retrieved by library staff and brought to you in our Reading Room
  • If you are interested in viewing rare books or archives, please read the special policies below

Location, Hours, and Contact

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Email: reference@sciencehistory.org
Phone: 215.629.5146

Hours: Monday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

The Othmer Library is closed on the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after
  • December 24 through January 1

Wheelchair Access

A wheelchair-accessible pedestrian gate is available at our parking-lot entrance on 3rd Street between Chestnut and Market Streets. The pedestrian gate is unlocked during regular business hours and for events. If you’re traveling by car, drive up to the parking-lot gate, which will open automatically during regular business hours and events. You may park in any open spot marked “Visitor” or in one of two spots reserved for persons with disabilities. To enter the building, call our receptionist via the intercom at the East Entrance for visitors and staff.

Learn more about accessibility at the Science History Institute.

Reading Room Procedures

  • Upon arrival provide a current photo identification and fill out a registration form
  • Place umbrellas, backpacks, or briefcases into a locker
  • Use only pencils or laptops for note taking
  • Use of digital cameras is permitted for research purposes

Special Policies for Accessing Rare Books and Archives

  • Before your visit please provide a list of books and/or archives you plan to view; email reference@sciencehistory.org
  • Research hours for rare books and archives are 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
  • For photocopies or scans, make a request through library staff, who will scan materials; there are fees for copies

Travel Grants

Please Note: We have temporarily ceased reviewing travel grant requests.

The Othmer Library offers travel grants for periods of up to two weeks for research visits. Applicants must currently reside more than 75 miles from Philadelphia in order to be eligible. Travel grants are $750 per week and are intended to help defray the costs of travel and accommodation. To apply for a travel grant fill out our online application form. Please contact travelgrants@sciencehistory.org with any questions.