Access to the Collection: The Museum Archives is open to the public for research purposes. Hours are 10am to 2pm on Wednesday by appointment. Other arrangements can be made during the week by calling (209) 723-2401. Researchers need to meet with the Archivist prior to doing their research.
City and Business Directories: Merced County Business Directory 1877, 1884-1885; Polk’s California State Gazetteer 1890; Polk’s Merced City Directory 1914, 1928-1929, 1930-1931, 1935, 1938, 1941, 1963, 1966; Polk’s Merced-Atwater Directory 1971, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1989.
Other years of Polk’s Merced City Directory and Polk’s Merced-Atwater Directory are available in Merced County Public Library in Merced.
County Records: Assessment, Auditor, Board of Supervisors, Castle Air Base Closure, Clerk, Declaration of Intentions, Funeral and Cemetery, Great Registers, Justice Court, Marks and Brands, Marriage Licenses, Merced County Courthouse Museum, Merced County Historical Society, Military and Veteran, Naturalization, Post Office, Probate, Property, School, Sheriff/Coroner/Jail, Superior/District Court, Transportation, Treasurer, Wills and Estate.
Other vital, business, land and tax records are available in the Merced County Recorder’s and Assessor’s Offices.
Manuscripts: Written by local residents and families about the history of Merced County from agriculture and industry to towns and schools, from wildlife and Yosemite to Irrigation and Transportation, and from the early life in Merced’s Chinatown to today’s life in a growing Hmong and Meng Community.
Maps: Our repository has over 600 maps of Merced County. The 1909, 1919, and 1932 Official Maps of Merced County identify the property ownerships. In addition to county maps, we have a rich variety of plat maps, subdivision maps, road maps, utility maps, planning and zoning maps, school district maps, supervisoral district maps, Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and much more.
Newspapers: The repository has selective years and issues of San Joaquin Valley Argus, Merced Sun-Star, and Le Grand Advocate.
Merced County Public Library has an excellent collection of newspaper published in Merced County in microfilm.
Photographs: The collection consists of almost 14000 vintage photographs of Merced County from the historical courthouses to early day street scenes and store fronts, from Victorian houses to public buildings, from individual portraits to class pictures, and from hay stacks to machinery. A great collection of photos by locally known photographer Frank Robinson gives a glimpse of all aspects of early twentieth century Merced County.
Use of Material: Due to the rarity and condition of historic records, the collection must remain non-circulating. Visitors to the Archives will be required to sign in, use pencils and wear cotton gloves while handling records.
Photograph Reproduction Service: The Museum offers black and white photograph reproduction service. Merced County Historical Society Archives owns the copyright of its photo collection. Rules regarding reproduction of photographs are strictly enforced. For more information, please check out Photograph/Reproduction Order Form & Contract.
Photocopying Services: Photocopying is available for most documents with the exception of large, fragile, and extremely aged items. There are two kinds of photocopying services. For a black and white copy, it will be done in the Museum Office. A 10-cent per copy donation is suggested. For a color copy, there will be a charge of $5 to $10 per copy. The color copying will provide a good alternative for those who want a decent but not necessarily professional quality copy of photography. For the professional photo reproduction, please call the museum at (209) 723-2401 for processiong and handling fees.