A Message from the Archivist of the United States on COVID-19


Dear Colleagues:

The National Archives and Records Administration exists to provide access to the records that document the history of the United States.  However, sometimes history happens around us and forces us to change the way we approach our work, at least for the time being. All of us are living through a historic crisis as we adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We at the National Archives are keenly aware of the uncertainty faced by our staff and our colleagues in the archival community and cultural and educational organizations. Institutions and individuals are facing unprecedented challenges in an effort to continue their regular operations.

This isn’t easy for any of us. We stand with all of you in our efforts to protect the health and welfare of your staff and members of your organizations, archivists, researchers, educators, and other stakeholders. We are also doing our best to continue services you rely on in a highly fluid and challenging environment. Like other institutions and businesses, the National Archives has closed all public spaces and cancelled all events and programs until further notice. As of March 23, all National Archives buildings are closed to staff as well except for those performing emergency functions. National Archives staff are teleworking to the greatest extent possible, which means that we are still operating and available to assist, although some of our capabilities are limited by current circumstances. 

Importantly, many of our services are available online:

  • The National Archives Catalog is the online portal to our digital records, and information about other records held at the National Archives
  • National Archives staff are responding to reference questions or requests for records sent to inquire@nara.gov.  
  • Researchers can ask—or answer—research questions on History Hub, or search to see if a question has been asked before. 
  • Members of the public can explore our online resources by visiting www.archives.gov and viewing our online exhibits.  
  • Teachers and parents can use our educational resources
  • Everyone can help the whole community by volunteering in our Citizen Archivist Missions.

Where possible, we will also conduct public events and outreach activities online and through virtual meetings. We will regularly update the event calendar with current information. Follow the National Archives on Facebook (USNationalArchives) and Twitter (@USNatArchives) for our current status. Or share your thoughts on the AOTUS blog.

We value your work and the connections we have made with you, our professional colleagues and partners. We will continue to share updates about what we’re doing and the services we can provide as the spring progresses and circumstances change. We send our best wishes for your continued good health and wellbeing and that of your employees and communities during this unprecedented time.


Archivist of the United States