Historical Collections

Historical Collections

Research & Services

Conducting Research

Research Consults

Though not required, we offer 30-minute research consults to patrons via Zoom or by phone. During consults, we will ask for a detailed description of your project and provide an overview of the kinds of resources we have available in Historical Collections that may facilitate your research. Where relevant, we will point patrons to collection guides or talk through how to navigate ArchivesSpace and/or Virgo. We do not create personalized research plans.

Research Services

When research time exceeds more than 30 minutes of staff time, your research inquiry exceeds the scope of the reference service that the staff of Historical Collections are able to provide and still maintain essential services to students, faculty, and staff of the University of Virginia.

If you are unable to visit Historical Collections to view materials and have a time-intensive reference request, please consult the list of independent researchers in the Charlottesville area who may be employed to do in-depth research. This list is maintained by the UVA Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Making an Appointment

We operate on an appointment only basis Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm (except university holidays). Please contact us via hsl-historical@virginia.edu to inquire about appointment availability. Due to our review process (explained in the next section), we are unable to accommodate same-day research requests.

Research Policies

Research Policies

Historical Collections materials are available to all researchers on equal terms of access.


Manuscript Collections and Institutional Archives

We require a minimum of 5 days to retrieve and review manuscript materials for potential restrictions. Some requests may take longer.

We do not accept requests at the box level for manuscript collections; all requests must be at the folder level. Most of our manuscript collections are described at the folder level and facilitate this process. If you cannot locate a particular collection guide, please contact our staff at hsl-historical@virginia.edu. If you are unsure of how to narrow your research, you may set up a research consult via the same email address.

The only exception to the above policy is MS-1 Philip S. Hench

Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, which does not require advanced review. A large portion of this collection has been digitized and is available online here.


Rare Books and Medical Artifacts

Please send a detailed list of the rare books and/or medical artifacts you would like to view during your visit. We require titles, call numbers, and preferably Virgo links for all rare book requests. Note that we do not allow patrons to handle certain medical artifacts due to preservation and safety concerns. To search our medical artifacts collection, use this link.


Historical Photographs

The UVA Visual History Collection features many digitized photos relating to the history of UVA Health. We suggest beginning your search there. You may filter your results on the left according to “Health Sciences.” Be advised that some of the descriptive metadata in this collection is inaccurate. If you cannot locate the image in question, search ArchivesSpace to determine if the image is available but has not been digitized. Depending on the request, we may be able to produce a digitized scan of the image. Some images may be restricted due to privacy concerns.


Oral Histories

Many of our oral histories can be found in Virgo and ArchivesSpace. Some interviews can also be viewed online here. These recordings are equipped with closed captioning.

Reading Room Policies

Reading Room Policies

  • Researchers will sign the "Register of Researchers."
  • As many of the materials in Historical Collections are unique, irreplaceable, and often fragile, they will be treated with care.
  • Historical Collections staff must be physically present whenever Historical Collections materials are used.
  • Only pencils or laptop computers may be used for taking notes.
  • Personal belongings, e.g. backpacks and bags, will be stored in lockers.
  • No food or beverages will be permitted.
  • The filing order for manuscript or archival materials will be maintained. Any disarrangement of collections (or pages missing from books or journals) will be reported to Historical Collections staff.
  • Researchers may seek permission from Historical Collections staff to photograph materials themselves. However, there are photography restrictions on some of the materials in the collection, and staff reserve the right to deny permission.
  • Researchers, prior to publishing, are responsible for obtaining the necessary publication rights and/or copyright clearances.

Location and Parking


We are located on the basement level of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. We will meet patrons at the closest public entry point – the UVA Hospital lobby or the West Complex entrance - and escort them to the library. If the patron is internal to UVA Health, we will meet them at the library’s service desk. Access to Historical Collections is restricted by badge entry.


1350 Jefferson Park Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22908

For directions, please visit the library’s website here.


There are paid parking options available at and around UVA Health. We do not validate parking for researchers, but we will meet patrons at the closest public entry point and escort them to the library.

Information on UVA Hospital parking is here. From the 11th Street Garage, patrons can navigate to the main hospital lobby via indoor pathways. Parking rates average about $4/hr. The Lee Street Garage – located directly across the street from the hospital – is reserved for patients and their visitors.

The Corner near UVA’s main campus maintains several paid lots. A list of those is here. The Elliewood Ave. lot is about a 10-15 minute walk to the library. Parking rates average $3/hr.

The UVA Parking and Transportation website has a list of visitor parking options, which can be accessed here. For patrons who intend to explore UVA’s campus the same day as their research appointment, Central Grounds Garage may be a viable option but entails a much longer walk to the library. Central Grounds uses the ParkMobile app for payment (there are no kiosks) and costs around $3/hr.

If you require accessible parking or other accommodations, please feel free to contact our staff at hsl-historical@virginia.edu.

Instruction and Tours

Archival workshops are on hold while the curator is on maternity leave.

a group of students gathered around looking at an old book in the historical collections area

Archival Workshops

We offer a themed workshop each academic year. This year’s workshop covers the history of diabetes treatments and features rare books, medical artifacts, and other items from our collections. The workshop is 45 minutes and requires a minimum of 10 participants. Please contact hsl-historical@virginia.edu for more information. We ask for 60 days’ notice to arrange these workshops.

If you are a faculty member with expertise in a subject that is reflected in our collections, we can work with you to select primary sources and objects for a class visit in which you provide the instructional component. Due to staffing limitations and the level of work and research involved in creating instructional content, we otherwise cannot cater workshops to specific groups or interests.

Dr. Meggan Cashwell is standing speaking to two students who are seated listening to a lecture on an old book

Tours of Historical Collections

We offer a 30-minute tour of Historical Collections. During the tour, visitors learn about the history of the department, walk through our reading room, explore current exhibits, and view select artifacts such as an iron lung. The tour requires a minimum of 5 participants and at least 30 days’ notice. Please contact hsl-historical@virginia.edu for more information.

We currently do not offer historical tours of UVA or UVA Health. Please contact University Guide Services for information on virtual and in-person tours.




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Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1350 Jefferson Park Avenue, 22903
P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville, VA 22908 (Directions)

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