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The Photo Archives is a rich and expanding collection of photographic images gathered from private donors, archives, libraries, museums, and photo agencies from around the world. The bulk of the collection spans the period from the end of World War I to the early 1950s. 

Hours and Location

The Photo Archives is open to the public Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and is closed on all Federal holidays, Yom Kippur, and Christmas Day. The Photo Archives is located on the Fifth Floor of the Museum building and is accessible by the elevator near the 14th Street entrance. Appointments prior to visiting the Photo Archives are strongly encouraged due to limited space.

Contact Us

Photo Archives
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2126
Tel.: 202.488.6111
Fax: 202.479.9726
E-mail: photoarchives@ushmm.org

Search for Photographs

More than 30% of the 100,000 historical photographs in the Photo Archives are available through our online catalog. More are being added each month as photos are culled and digitized from the Museum's entire collection. In general, only photographs belonging to the Museum or determined to be in the public domain are featured in this online catalog. However, in a few instances special permission has been obtained to include photographs belonging to other archives or collectors.

  • A selection of institutional photographs of the Museum (images of the Museum and its programs) are available through this online catalog.
  • A small sampling of photographs of the more than 10,000 artifacts in the Museum is available through this online catalog.

Search the Catalog

Comprehensive Search of the Photo Archive

Those interested in conducting more extensive research in the Photo Archives are invited to contact us by mail, phone, or e-mail to set up an appointment. Staff is able to provide long distance photo reference service to those with limited research requests. Inquiries should be as specific and precise as possible. If an inquiry pertains to a photograph in the online catalog, please cite the identifying photo number next to the image in your correspondence. For questions related to genealogical research, please contact the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center.

Terms and Conditions for Use of Photo Archives Images

Individuals and institutions downloading images from the online Photo Archives catalog must contact the Photo Archives regarding terms and conditions of use.

Reproduction Services

For information about reproduction services please contact the Photo Archives at photoarchives@ushmm.org. Orders will be filled in the order in which they are received. Please allow up to three weeks to complete any order.

Donations of Original Materials

The Collections Division is actively soliciting donations of original prewar, wartime, and immediate postwar family photos. If you are interested in donating original materials, please contact a curator at 202.488.2649 or by e-mail at curator@ushmm.org.

If you would like to donate photographs documenting the liberation of concentration camps please read this page about liberation photography.

Temporary Loans of Original Materials

The Photo Archives seeks to copy all types of photographs that document the prewar, wartime, and immediate postwar experience of people who were caught up in the events of World War II, be they as refugees, deportees, witnesses, relief workers, resisters, rescuers, or GIs.

For those of you who are not ready to part with your collections of photographs, we ask that you consider lending them to the Photo Archives for a period of two to three months to allow us to make museum-quality copies of a selection of them and to include them in our database of photographs. Your original materials will be handled with care while they are here and returned to you promptly. To discuss the loan of original photographs to the Photo Archives, please contact us at photoarchives@ushmm.org.

How Photographs are Used

Within the Museum, the Photo Archives provides images for exhibitions, publications, web displays, and educational materials produced by the Museum. The Photo Archives collection is also used by a variety of institutions and individuals, including all branches of the media, museums, government agencies, scholars and researchers, artists and filmmakers, educators and students, and, especially, survivors and their families.

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