The Historic New Orleans Collection's holdings are available to the general public in the Williams Research Center (WRC). Through the assistance of the Center's experienced reading room staff, patrons have access to more than 30,000 library items, more than two miles of documents and manuscripts, a microfilm collection, and more than 500,000 photographs, prints, drawings, and paintings, as well as beautiful and unusual three-dimensional objects. Rare documents and manuscripts are available in microform and in the original.

The major research fields are colonial Louisiana, the Louisiana Purchase, the Battle of New Orleans, the Civil War, Mississippi River life, cartography, transportation, plantations, urban development, Louisiana artists and writers, architecture, the French Quarter, jazz and other forms of early New Orleans music, historic preservation, and Mardi Gras. The collections reflect aspects of the history and culture of the Gulf South, Louisiana, and New Orleans.  Most materials are available to researchers in our Reading Room.

The reading room at the Williams Research Center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, excluding holidays. Access to the research center begins with an interview with reading room staff and the consultation of online catalogues. See our "Visit" section for directions, and suggestions for parking.


Plan Your Visit

Frequently asked questions about using the WRC.

Reading Room Guidelines

Rules for using the resources of the WRC reading room.


Search The Collection's holdings for books, documents, manuscripts, artifacts, artwork, and other resources and materials.

Off-site Requests

Contact WRC staff for help with questions requiring minimal research.

Research Tools

Various themed guides to resources, subject bibliographies,databases and timelines to aid in doing research.

Requests and Reproductions

Whether you need photocopies of documents or would like to request permission to reproduce Collection items in print, video, or online, you will find information about fees and downloadable forms here.

Digital Collections

Some of THNOC's large collections of photographs and decorative arts can viewed online.