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The University of Texas at Austin

Research Visit


The Briscoe Center for American History is temporarily closed to visitors along with all other departments and units at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, appointments, events and programs that were scheduled to occur at the center during the spring semester have been cancelled. This policy applies to the center's exhibit spaces, classrooms, reading room, public services and off campus divisions, which include the Briscoe-Garner Museum in Uvalde, the Sam Rayburn Museum in Bonham and Winedale in Round Top. Our staff are working remotely and continue to monitor online queries and requests. Updates to this policy will be posted on this page.

The Briscoe Center's newly renovated reading room serves as the hub of research for visitors using the Center's vast archival collection. Before you visit, please consult the information below concerning hours of operation, policies and resources. To reach the reading room, enter the north end of Sid Richardson Hall, Unit 2, and walk through the expanded galleries to the south end of the building. We look forward to assisting you!

Sid Richardson Hall
(L-R) Sid Richardson Hall, Unit 1, 2, and 3


The Briscoe Center public services are available to the public from 10AM to 5PM Monday through Friday, and 9AM to 1PM on Saturday. As always, we recommend that researchers check the hours page since our hours occasionally change due to special events or University holidays.

Policies & Registration

The Briscoe Center’s mission is to collect, preserve and provide access to archival materials - the evidential basis for all historical writing. Our collection is open to everyone, from the serious researcher to people with a casual interest in history. Our staff is eager to assist anyone with their research needs.To carry out our mission, we require researchers to follow these policies and procedures. 

Researchers visiting for the first time must register as a new researcher in the Aeon special collections circulation system. Registration can be completed in advance of the research visit online, or in person at the center. Once registration has been completed, researchers will be required to verify their identity in person at the center prior to entering the reading room. A form of official photo identification (drivers license, school i.d., passport, military i.d.) may be used for identity verification. All researchers must check in at arrival and check out at departure.

Visitors are required to place their belongings in a locker. All lockers have locks to which you set your own combination. The following items must be stored in lockers:

  • Coats
  • Purses, backpacks, laptop and camera cases
  • Food and drinks
  • Personal books, notebooks and folders

Once you have signed in and locked up your belongings, Briscoe Center staff will need to verify that you are taking only the following items into the reading room:

  • A personal camera for photographing items in the reading room (no personal scanning or photocopying equipment).
  • A laptop computer or electronic tablet.
  • Notes on loose paper (no bound notebooks or spirals; we provide additional scratch paper). We will stamp these with our clearance mark before you are seated.

If you choose to carry a concealed handgun on campus, you must carry it on or about your person at all times.  The Briscoe Center's policy requires that researchers must lock up all personal belongings including purses, bags, backpacks and briefcases. For questions concerning concealed carry on campus, refer to the University Handbook of Operating Procedures, 8-1060 “Campus Concealed Carry,", and the UT Campus Carry website,

When you are finished with your research for the day and exit the reading room, staff will need to check your laptop and any loose papers before you retrieve your materials from your locker and sign out for the day.

Requests and Using Archives Material

The Briscoe Center is a closed-stack facility so researchers use all materials in the reading room. Staff is eager to assist you with finding materials appropriate to your research. Our reference kiosks feature searchable databases and indexes for most of the Briscoe Center’s holdings.

To request materials for use in the reading room, researchers log into their Aeon account and click New Request in the menu on the left side of the screen. Requests can be made remotely (away from the Briscoe Center) or onsite. The Aeon system does not send a verification message indicating that a request was submitted. Materials requested remotely will not be retrieved until the researcher is signed into the reading room.

Materials that are housed offsite require one week for delivery to the Briscoe Center from a remote storage facility.

To ensure the preservation and security of our holdings, there are limits to the amount of material researchers can request and use at one time. Consult reading room staff for specific desk limits.

Researchers can ask for an item to be held at the reference desk if they plan to return within the week.

Class Visits

Professors wishing to bring their class to the Briscoe Center for archival instruction or research orientation should contact the head of Public Services, Margaret Schlankey (, or 495-4537).

Tools and Equipment

Some of the Briscoe Center’s holdings require special equipment to access their content:

Microfilm reader/scanners: There are five reader/scanners for viewing reels from our extensive microfilm collection. Each machine can enlarge images and scan them to a USB drive provided by the researcher. There is also the option to print images with a 25 page limit.

Audio listening station: The Briscoe Center offers players for LPs and 45 rpm discs, compact discs and cassette tapes.

Video viewing station: We have players for DVD, VHS, and UMatic video formats.

Desktop scanner/printer: With the permission of the reference desk staff, researchers can scan books or vertical files in good condition and save the images to a USB drive that they provide. There is also the option to print the images with limit of 25 pages.

The Briscoe Center also offers the following tools to assist researchers:

  • Camera
  • Camera stand
  • Flexible clamps for use with a smart phone camera
  • Light table
  • Loupe
  • Gloves
  • Book cradles and weights
  • Flash drive

Connecting to the Internet

Visitors to the reading room can access the internet using one of the available networks. 

For Guests

To access the wireless network, simply select “utguest” from the list of available networks in your computer’s wireless settings. No password is required.

For Eduroam participants

If you are affiliated with an institution that participates in the Eduroam wireless service then you can choose “eduroam” from the list of available networks and enter the credentials required by your institution. To learn more about Eduroam and see a list of participating institutions, visit:

Prepare for your Visit by Exploring Our Website

To make the most of your time at the Briscoe Center, you can use the resources on our Online Reference Tools page to find materials you can request when you arrive for research or request ahead of your visit in the case of off-site materials. You can also contact our reference staff to receive help finding materials appropriate for your research.