Research and Photography Policies

Research and Photography Policies

Conducting research is an important aspect of the work of any museum, and it is central to the mission of the South Street Seaport Museum.

The Seaport Museum is actively engaged in a complete inventory of all its collections, works of art, artifacts and archival materials. The project will improve future public access to the materials in our care, and ensure that it is preserved for many generations to come.

Research Inquiries

Research requests are handled in the order received, and if there is a large volume of requests at a given moment it may take a minimum of 2 weeks to complete.

South Street Seaport Museum members​ at the Dual level and higher​ are entitled to a discount on all research fees.

Image Services

You may request access to Museum images for purposes of examination, study, research, publication, and advancement. You can request that digital reproductions be distributed to you through email, or cloud-based computer file transfer services. Alternatively, in-person access to Museum images can be provided at the Museum through appointment with the Collections Department.

Requests to access or use Museum images should be made in advance. Staff availability will be a factor in the evaluation of any request not made in advance. A request to use or have access to an image does not guarantee such use or access, and the Seaport Museum reserves all rights in granting and revoking permissions in regards to images.

Digital images for lecture, publication, exhibition, public space, films, or web/blog/digital use are subject to reproduction and licensing fees. Please contact us for more information at

Click below to view our Image Service fees

Public Access to the Collections

Access to South Street Seaport Museum’s collection and reference library is granted on a case by case basis at the discretion of the Director of Collections.

Requests will be approved or denied after careful review of the following criteria:

  • support of the Museum’s mission
  • availability of staff and Museum spaces
  • security concerns for the preservation and well-being of the collection and storage areas
  • availability and accessibility of the requested objects
  • number of objects requested
  • physical condition of the objects requested

Furthermore, the Director of Collections, in consultation with the Registrar Assistant and Curatorial Assistant, will determine whether outside individuals will be allowed to handle objects. Handling of objects will be directly supervised by a designated Collections or Registration staff.

Research fees depend on the nature of the request. A cost estimate can be provided once a research request is submitted​.

Click below to contact our Collections Department