About the Archives

The Archives collects, preserves, and interprets records of the work done by the California Academy of Sciences, the history of science in the American West, and the research of scientists throughout the Pacific Rim.  Our collections include over 70,000 digital images, 100,000 prints and negatives, 3,000 reels of film, significant natural history illustrations and paintings, manuscripts and assorted text, and a small (but growing) collection of software and other digital records.  From the handwritten minutes of the first meeting of the Academy in April 1853 to backups of the Academy‚Äôs Twitter feed, the Academy Archives is the institutional memory of the California Academy of Sciences. 


The Academy Archives is open to Academy staff and outside researchers Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm, by advance appointment only. Some digital collections are also available through the Academy website. To arrange an on-site appointment or request permission to use digital collections, please contact archives [at] calacademy [dot] org.

Collection Highlights

Alice Eastwood

"Science in Action" #239 - "Treasure Island of Science" - Earl Herald, Robert Bowman with tortoise.


Explore the papers of  Alice Eastwoodand learn about one of the most notable California botanists of the 19th century. Dive into Science In Action, one of the first science television shows in the country.Science in Action was produced by the California Academy of Sciences and aired from 1950-1966.

Discover the Connecting Content project and discover the scientific field books, photographs of specimens from the California Academy of Sciences' impressive collections, and related published literature that come together to create a rich picture of scientific learning.

Using the Collections

Material is available for research and may also be used on a fee basis in publications and commercial products.


Please see our Archives Access PolicyDuplication Agreement and Fee Schedule for information about the reproduction and use of materials. Most reproduction orders are completed within 10 working days of receipt. Large or difficult orders may require additional time. Rush orders may be accommodated for additional fees depending on staff availability. Please contact the Academy Archivist, Heather Yager: Hyager [at] calacademy [dot] org, in order to negotiate fees and terms.


All orders must be paid in advance. Acceptable forms of payment are:

  • Cash
  • Check or money order payable to California Academy of Sciences Special Collections
  • Visa, Mastercard, or American Express
  • Pay pal


Orders can be shipped via US Mail, UPS or Federal Express. Fees vary depending on shipment method. Digital images can be sent via e-mail or retrieved from our ftp site.

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  • Who can use the Academy Library?

    The Library is open to all staff, students, and volunteers of the Academy during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm).

    Members of the public with a legitimate research interest are welcome to use the collections by appointment.

  • Can I check out books from the Academy Library?

    Items from the Academy Library only circulate to Academy Staff for in-house use. Members of the public may view items in the Naturalist Center


  • How do I contact a Librarian?

    Librarians are generally available during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm).

    We can help you with questions, provide referrals, or schedule an appointment for you to visit the Library.

    You can contact the Library by

    Phone: (415) 379-5484

    Email: library@calacademy.org



  • How do I look up a book?

    All of the Academy Library and Naturalist Center book, journal, and multimedia holdings are listed in the Academy Library catalog.

    Confused? Watch a tutorial on searching the Academy Library catalog.

    There are many ways to find items in the Academy Library catalog.

    Watch a short tutorial

  • How do I find journal articles?

    The Academy Library offers access to a variety of databases and indexes, both free and subscription services.  You must be on-site at the Academy to use the subscription databases.

    Browse our Indexes & Databases

  • I know what I want, now how do I get it?

    First, look it up in the Catalog.

    If we don't own it, try the following:

    Academy Staff ONLY: Place an Interlibrary Loan request.

    If you do not have Academy Library borrowing privileges, try searching WorldCat.org to see if a library near you owns the item.

  • How do I search for archival collections in the catalog?

    As a rule, those collections are not listed in the Library catalog.  You can browse the list of manuscript holdings here and you can search Archives image collections in the Manzanita Image Gallery.


    Please contact archives [at] calacademy [dot] org with any questions.

  • Can I reuse or publish your photographs or other materials?

    In most cases, the answer is yes.  Please see Scanning, Reproduction & Use for more information.

  • Can I volunteer at the Library?

    We periodically have volunteer opportunities for both short-term, project based and long-term assignments. 

    Please contact Volunteer Services if you are interested in becoming a Library volunteer.