Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Archives

Molecular image of coronavirusDuring the current threat to public health from the coronavirus, DHR is limiting for the foreseeable future public access to our Archives. For now, the Archives will be open to the public on an appointment-only basis. Our preference during this time is to handle Archives search requests via telephone, (804) 482-6102, or email.

 

 


Please note: All visitors to DHR’s headquarters and offices including the Archives in Richmond are required to provide a photo identity card (e.g. driver’s license, state employee badge, etc.) at the main desk, where all visitors are required to sign in.  Thanks for your cooperation with this policy.


Overview of Archival Resources

Background Research for Section 106/Review and Compliance Projects

Projects submitted to DHR’s Division of Review and Compliance must be accompanied by a map showing the Area of Potential Effects (APE), as well as information on previous surveys and recorded historic resources within it.

There are three ways to conduct this research:

  1. Visit in-person to DHR’s Archives. DHR Archives are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Tuesdays through Thursdays. Our staff can help you find what you need.  [Note: While the governor’s executive stay at home order is in effect, access to the DHR Archives are available only by appointment.  Please call the archivist at (804) 482-6120 or email.]
  2. Order a DHR Archives Search. For a service fee, DHR staff can perform this search for you, create a map, and send you digital files. This is the best choice for organizations who infrequently conduct DHR background research or who do not have an archaeology qualified individual on staff.
  3. Obtain a VCRIS LicenseThe Virginia Cultural Resource Information System (VCRIS) is DHR’s online statewide inventory of historic resources. Thirty day or annual licenses are available for purchase for self-service research. NOTE: Access to sensitive statewide archaeological data requires an archaeology qualified individual. If your organization does not qualify, please visit in person or order a DHR Archives Search.

VCRIS (Virginia Cultural Resource Information System)

DHR’s cultural resource database, VCRIS, contains information on more than 250,000 historic resources in Virginia. The system  is used for documenting and mapping these resources. Full access to it is available for a fee to qualified professionals, and limited access is available for free to the public.

Learn more about VCRIS and registration

How Archives Documentation is Organized

Documentation about Virginia’s historic resources can be described as “below-ground,” referring to archaeological sites, or “above-ground,” meaning any standing building, structure or district.

Many historic resources in Virginia are a combination of both — for example, an existing plantation house built near or on an archaeological site of prior Native American occupation, or nearby to below-ground sites affiliated with African Americans.

Organized by city and county, our collection of survey records and other documentation is contained in files and reports. Most files contain evaluations, photographs, and maps of historic resources. Drawings, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and published and unpublished materials are also available in many files.

Sites on State and National Registers

Files for sites listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register or the National Register of Historic Places contain copies of their respective nomination forms, photographs, and other items. Most of these register nominations are available and are searchable at the Historic Registers Listings on this website.

Survey and Archaeological Reports

DHR is also the principal repository for Virginia historic survey and archaeological reports. Reports and photos may be accessed onsite and are also available in VCRIS if they have been digitized.

Brick building with attached service garage, circa 1930s.
Q. M. Pyne Store in Giles Co. was listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register in 2009. The Archives file for the store building contains a nomination form, photographs, and other related documents about the structure.

Much of the documentation in the Archives may be photocopied for a small fee. The DHR Archives also has an excellent collection of  photographic negatives and slides (dating mostly between mid-1960s into the early 2000s).  Photographs are now submitted as digital image files as well as in hard copy print form.

DHR can reproduce photographs for a nominal fee. A search service is available for organizations seeking information on the presence of previously identified cultural resources within a project area (see Environmental Review for more information).

See also the Special Collections on this website for a selection of downloadable survey and archaeological reports and publications.

Archives Library

The department’s research library contains a specialized selection of books, theses and dissertations associated with Virginia history, county histories, historic preservation, architecture, and archaeology. Professional periodicals on history, archaeology, and architecture are also housed here, as are copies of historic maps.

DHR Archives materials do not circulate. All of these resources are available for the public to view free of charge in the Archives reading room. For more information, please contact Quatro Hubbard, Archivist, Phone: (804) 482-6102; Fax: (804) 367-2391 or email.

Sensitive Archaeological Data

Virginia’s archaeological data is sensitive and protected under the Code of Virginia §2.2-3705.7 (10), the National Historic Preservation Act 54 U.S.C. § 307103(a), and/or the Archaeological Resources Protection Act 6 U.S.C. §§ 470hh(a). DHR limits access to detailed archaeological data accordingly. DHR screens resumes or CVs for qualified individuals (SOI qualified archaeologists, historic preservation planners, agency or tribal cultural resource managers).


Hours: 9:00 – 5:00, Tuesday through Thursday. Closed Friday through Monday and on state holidays.

Address: 2801 Kensington Ave. Richmond, VA 23221

No appointment is necessary to visit but visitors are required to present a photo ID and sign in at the reception desk. [Note: Appointments are required to visit the DHR Archives for the duration of the governor’s stay at home executive order.]

Updated April 28, 2020