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National Geographic Special Collections: FAQs

What are your hours?

At National Geographic we are transforming our public space into a reimagined Base Camp.We are unable to accommodate external requests or onsite research to Special Collections during this period of construction. We look forward to sharing plans for a new research facility in the coming months.

In the meantime, you can learn more about National Geographic history by exploring our online collections and other resources available throughout this website.

How do I contact Special Collections staff?

Can I take a tour?

We are not currently offering tours but may do so in the future.

Can I check out materials from your collection?

Only National Geographic staff can access our library materials. We do not lend materials from the archives.  Access to archival collections and materials is limited to trained Special Collections personnel.

What kind of research support can you provide to the public?

Due to limits on resources and staff time, our focus is on questions relating to National Geographic history and collections. We are best equipped to provide assistance relating to content documenting National Geographic Society expeditions or grants, published photographs, National Geographic magazine articles, National Geographic television programs and educational films, and National Geographic history. Public libraries are better equipped to field more general inquiries. 

Can I download copyright-free materials from your collection?

Our archival collections system does not allow material to be downloaded. Any content available online is for viewing and research purposes only.  If you would like to request a copy of an Item, please submit the request form in the Item record.  The ability to share a copy of an Item will depend on usage and rights.

How do I clear rights to use NG material?

National Geographic is no longer in the licensing business.  Unfortunately, restrictions have been placed on Nat Geo photos and video that do not allow us to license them for outside parties. We are focusing on accelerating the use of our content in National Geographic and Disney content, products, and experiences.  The stock footage agency closed in December of 2020. 

If you are scholar or educator, and your requested use is for educational purposes only, contact us with your detailed intended use, and we will have our Legal team review your request for approval.  Rights are granted only for very limited circumstances.

Banner Photo Credit: Renan Ozturk.