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Martin F. Schmidt Research Library

Researching Just Got Easier.

If you’re digging for your family roots, researching your next book, class paper, or just beginning to discover Kentucky history, the Martin F. Schmidt Research Library has resources to help.

Our holdings span all of Kentucky’s 120 counties and include published works; archival records such as manuscripts, photographs, maps, atlases; oral history interviews; and microfilm.

Visit us in person or search our collections online. If you can’t get to Frankfort, contact us about our fee-based research services. Our professional staff can help you navigate our collections to find what you need.

HOURS: Wednesday – Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm

ADMISSION: Included in the price of general admission to the Kentucky Historical Society or free with KHS membership.

CONTACT:, (502) 782-8080

Library Use Policies

The Martin F. Schmidt Research Library is on the second floor of the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. Elevator access is available.

Our policies are designed to protect the collections and promote an atmosphere conducive to research for all patrons.

When You Arrive:

  • Sign in at the front desk in the lobby of the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.

  • If this is your first visit, complete the registration paperwork.

You may bring into the library:

  • Paper, research notes, and electronic devices.

  • Pencils (available at the orientation and reference desks for patrons who don’t have one)

  • Cell phones (set to vibrate or at lowest volume. Please leave the library to take calls.)

  • Hand-held cameras and electronic devices with camera capabilities. (No flash is allowed and images are to be used for personal reference only. You may not reproduce, publish, or exhibit the images you or anyone else takes without the permission of the Kentucky Historical Society. (To request permission to publish, please contact the Kentucky Historical Society for a Use Agreement. Additional fees may apply.)

You may not bring:

  • Purses, briefcases, waist-packs, backpacks, etc.

  • Books, magazines, folders, binders, and original manuscript documents. (Exceptions to this rule can be discussed with reference staff on a case-by-case basis.)

  • Ink pens of any kind, permanent markers, scanners, or personal copiers.

  • Tobacco products, food, and drink.

Lockers are available outside the library for personal item storage. You will need a quarter to operate lockers, but we will return it.


Photocopy machines are located in the Reading Room. Researchers are responsible for obtaining necessary publication rights and/or copyright clearances before using copies in any publication.

Photocopies are $0.50 per page.

Microfilm Readers

There are a limited number of microfilm reader-printers. During especially busy periods, KHS staff reserves the right to ask patrons to limit their use of reader-printers to printing and may ask patrons who are only reviewing microfilm to move to a reader.

Collections Care and Use

  • You may not remove research materials from the Reading Room.

  • After use, return all materials to designated re-shelving carts.

  • Please do not re-shelve materials.

  • Do not mark or damage KHS collections with pencils or other writing implements.

  • Handle materials safely. When in doubt, ask KHS staff.

Library staff will inspect all materials as a precaution as patrons leave the library.