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Rare and Manuscript Collections

By Appointment - Full Hours /

Information for Visitors

RMC is currently open to all researchers for reading room appointments scheduled online. Our exhibition gallery is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Please contact us with research and instructional support questions. We invite you to explore our digital collections and online exhibitions as well.

The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections welcomes students, scholars, and members of the general public. If you are visiting Cornell to access rare books and manuscript materials, the information below will help you answer logistical questions. For a condensed overview of services and directions please see our online guide.

Be Prepared

  1. Ptolemy
    “Ptolemy” mahogany sculpture by Elfriede M. Abbe ’40, located in RMC’s reference room.

    Register and request items before you visit. A few items in our collections require an appointment to see and many of our items are stored off-site and require at least two business days to retrieve. Therefore, we encourage you to register and request material in advance (two weeks for standard requests, earlier for large projects). This way, we can help you to optimize your research time at Cornell.

    Go to Register & Request Items and follow the directions. This creates a personal research account that you may use to request materials in advance of your visit. It also will allow you to store a complete record of your requests and make it simple to re-request an item. In the process, you’ll read our guidelines for use of materials here.

    Please note there is a limit of 15 active requests. When you submit more than 15 items, all requests will go into an “Awaiting User Review” queue and will not be submitted for retrieval. Please prioritize your requests and submit the ones with which you want to begin. If you are traveling here for an extended period and anticipate consulting a large volume of items, please contact us prior to your visit so we can discuss your needs and priorities and help maximize your research time.

    For step by step instructions on requesting materials, see Registration & Guidelines. If you have questions prior to your visit, please contact us.

  2. Present photo identification when you arrive.

Getting Here

We are wheelchair accessible. For more information, see Full Hours and Contact Us.

Please do not bring food or drinks with you when you visit us.

The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections is located on Level 2B of the Carl A. Kroch Library. Access is through Olin Library on the Cornell University campus (view a map).

Upon entering Olin Library, walk directly ahead toward the green slate hallway where you will enter the Carl A. Kroch Library. Pass the Asia Collections (on your left) and proceed to the rotunda. Just beyond the rotunda, take either the elevator (to your right) or the stairs (straight ahead) down two levels to level 2B. The receptionist will point out our lockers for storing your belongings and direct you to the reference room, exhibition gallery, or meeting rooms.

For more information, see Finding Materials and Frequently Asked Questions.