Visiting Collins Hall
U.S. Army Center of Military History
Since 1998, the Center of Military History has been located in
Building 35 on Fort McNair. In December 2002, the building was
named Collins Hall, in memory of Brig. Gen. James L. Collins,
Jr., the Chief of Military History from 1970 to 1982.
| Collins Hall houses the Center's library
and research collection as well as its historians, curators,
editors, and archivists. The Army Art Collection is located
in a separate building on 14th Street, Northwest in DC.
102 4TH AVE BLDG 35
FORT MCNAIR DC 20319-5060
Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Library is closed on Friday Afternoons.
CLOSED Weekends and Federal Holidays
Visitors: The Center
of Military History welcomes public use of its reference facilities.
The Center's top priority, however, always remains providing support
to the Army Staff and the Army's senior leadership.
All visitors are advised to write or call the Center
of Military History prior to visiting Collins Hall. Outside
researchers can only work at the Center between 9:00 a.m. and
4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Upon entry to Collins Hall,
please check in at the security window. The security officer
will contact your POC to escort you inside.
Unfortunately, the Center is not staffed to provide dedicated
customer service or support to outside researchers. The Center's
historians are often away from Collins Hall conducting research
or official travel. Without prior coordination, there is no guarantee
that the appropriate staff member will be available. Moreover,
visitors are strongly encouraged to confirm their appointments
twenty-four hours in advance of their projected visit to ensure
that the resource material and/or historian remains available.
Library and Research Collection: The primary
function of the Collins Hall library and archives is to support
the Center's historians and staff. In addition, both the library
and archives provide service to the Army staff, Congress, and
other governmental agencies as well as offices of the other uniformed
services. While the library welcomes public use of its reference
collection, its priority remains service to the Army. All outside
researchers preparing to come to Collins Hall are strongly encouraged
to pursue preliminary exploration in appropriate public or university
libraries so that they can make efficient use of the Center's
The Collins Hall library has a specialized collection that consists
mainly of books and studies that deal with American military history.
It has a strong collection of World War II, the Vietnam War, and
published unit histories. For the most part, however, its holdings
are similar to those of a university library with a good military
history collection. The Collins Hall library does not lend its
material to non-staff members.
The Center's archives support on-going staff actions and studies.
The archives consist of three major types of materials. First,
it has unpublished monographs and studies completed by CMH historians,
including final drafts of the official histories. Second, it
maintains the Command Histories for the Army's Major Commands
and Corps from the mid-60s to the present. The commands' staff
historians prepare these histories annually. Third, the archives
retains materials collected by the various Military History Detachments
that supported the historical effort for the Army's operations
over the last decade and a half. Of this final category, some
of the material remains sensitive and classified.
Neither the library
nor the archives maintain personnel records or unit operational
records. The former are maintained at the National Personnel
Records Center in St. Louis, while the latter are maintained
at the National Archives and Records Administration in the
To coordinate a visit to the library or archives, outside researchers-both
official and unofficial--should call the Circulation Desk at (202)
Organizational History Files: Outside researchers
may use the working files of the Force Structure and Unit History
Branch. These files contain documents and material that support the
development of unit Lineage and Honors Certificates: They do not
contain operational or organizational reports of a unit's participation
in military campaigns and operations. Due to limited staffing, visitors
who want to use these files are strongly urged to make their appointment
well in advance to ensure that the appropriate historian is available
to provide assistance. Branch files cannot be used without staff
assistance. The branch's address is
U.S. Army Center of Military History
103 Third Avenue Fort McNair, DC 20319-5058
Cost of Copying
For researchers who want to make copies of the materials at Collins
Hall, the first 15 pages are free. After that, we charge 15 cents
per page. We cannot accept cash, so we will need a check or money
order made out to the Department of the Treasury.
The Center, however, allows--even encourages--researchers to use
cameras or scanners to make their copies.
Fort McNair is located at 4th and P streets, SW, near the Waterfront Metro / Marina.
Visitors without military decals must use the
2d Street Entrance to enter the post. All visitors will be required
to show valid photo identification, and their vehicles are subject
Fort McNair's parking
is limited, and at times parking near Collins Hall is
not possible. However, even the longest walk will be
less than fifteen minutes. Please observe all parking
regulations and respect reserved parking.