File Access and Availability
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources (DHR) maintains files on thousands of historic resources throughout the state. The town research files and the archaeological site files at the DHR are available to the researching public by appointment only, on Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 4 PM. Researchers must make an appointment with the Cultural Resources Records Coordinator prior to arrival by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (603) 271-6568. Access and staff assistance are not available without an appointment.
Researchers with specific topic inquiries are encouraged to discuss their projects with staff in advance. With notice, staff can often point to lesser known sources of historical data, such as historic context files or town histories.
All visitors should first check in at the reception area and sign in with the Cultural Resources Records Coordinator.
Materials in the town research files are public records and available to all researchers. Archaeological records are accessible only to qualified archaeologists working in a specific project area.
Town Research Files: cultural resource inventories, National and New Hampshire State Register nominations and miscellaneous property information.
Town files are arranged alphabetically by town. The files are color coded: orange for area forms and individual property inventory files, magenta for New Hampshire State Register nominations, blue/manila for National Register nominations, and manila for miscellaneous properties.
site forms, site maps and project reports.
DHR’s archaeological records are accessible with staff assistance to consulting archaeologists who meet professional qualifications specified under 36 CFR 61, or to archaeologists working under the supervision of a qualified individual. Access to the files is for specific cultural resources projects; wholesale collection of data is not permitted. Archaeological site location information is reserved from accessibility under state law and the Freedom of Information Act. The DHR limits access to these files in order to protect resources and prevent unauthorized excavations.
The DHR has digitized site form information; selected queries of this information are available through the Cultural Resources Records Coordinator. Researchers are encouraged to discuss their areas of research prior to arrival.
The DHR office is accessible to all users via the elevator entrance from the parking lot. Parking is free. Photocopying is available for a fee, unless the fragile condition of a document prevents copying. Checks should be made payable to Treasurer, State of NH. The DHR is not able to accept credit card payment but will accept cash. Cash payment is requested if photocopying costs total less than ten dollars.
Visitors are expected to use common library etiquette: no food or drink in the file area, pencils only, use one file at a time, mark file locations with an out card, and handle documents with care to avoid tearing or bending.
Maintaining the organization and condition of the research files is critically important for other researchers, staff and the resources they represent. Many files are old and contain original documents, representing the only copy of the information available.
Words of Caution
Visitors who have difficulties or questions about the DHR’s research policies may always request staff assistance. If files are left out of order or mishandled, a researcher’s open file privileges will be revoked. The DHR is now digitizing its inventory information; in the future, fewer paper files will need to be handled.
Many of New Hampshire’s historical, architectural and archaeological resources are not represented in the DHR’s files. The state’s landscape and environment change constantly, and a great deal of survey and inventory remains to be done. The absence of information at the DHR for a specific project area does not indicate that resources do not exist there. Fieldwork and research are needed to make an accurate judgment.
Information in the DHR’s files may be decades old. Consultants are responsible for verifying a property’s current appearance, integrity and significance.
New and/or updated survey information is regularly added to the DHR’s files, typically at a rate of 1,000 properties a year. Repeated file reviews may be needed for long-term projects.
Not all properties in the DHR’s files are historically significant. Surveyed properties are usually more than fifty years old, but may lack integrity or significance, or may have changed with time.
Due to these limitations, data from the DHR’s files cannot be reliably redistributed. The DHR encourages researchers to gather information only for specific, timely purposes. The DHR does not recommend or approve the use of information gathered or reproduced in any other manner.
A Researcher's Guide to Using Records at the NH Division of Historical Resources
Access to Archaeological and Historic
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