Rights and Reproductions

At the National Museum of American History (NMAH), we are committed to making our collections accessible and available to researchers, publishers, and the general public in support of scholarship, education, and personal enrichment. To use any text, image, audio, or video for commercial use, publication, broadcast, documentary, or for any purpose other than fair use as defined by law, you must request and receive prior written permission from the museum. High-resolution digital images can be requested by filling out the permission form.

The museum is moving toward an open access policy for our collections in the public domain. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S. Code § 107, we accept the “fair use” of copyrighted material available on our website or collection database for nonprofit educational purposes. We encourage users to download images from our website for personal or classroom use, without written permission, within the meaning of the principles of “fair use.” Please visit the Smithsonian Institution’s Terms of Use page for more information about allowable uses.

Other than Fair Use: Permission Request Process

1. To request permission to use and/or make a reproduction of an item in the collection, you will need to:

  1. Use the standard NMAH permission form (link below).
  2. Include a citation or link to the source of the item requested that clearly identifies the item.
  3. Sign the form, to indicate your acceptance of any legal liabilities for use of the reproduction, beyond what the museum can grant. (Provide either a digitally-signed form or a scan of pen and ink signed form.)
  4. Submit the completed form to rightsreproductions@si.edu.

2. Museum staff will review the request and respond.

3. If there are any associated costs, museum staff will notify you and, once payment is received, will deliver the reproduction and/or countersigned permission form.

4. The museum will respond to initial requests in a timely manner and will generally fulfill requests within two weeks of receiving payment and permission form. Custom requests will take longer, contingent on the volume and complexity of the order.

Important Links