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Photographs: Research & Ordering

Subjects: How-To Guides
Tags: arts, how-to, photos

How to Order

Image Orders cannot be fulfilled while the Library is closed, so we are not currently accepting new Image Orders.  For more information, please see our Library Closure Information page

Images in Collections Online Blue internet button with a shopping cart icon and the word "buy" on it
For images found in the Collections Online system, click the 'Buy' button and then make the selections for your preferences (Print/Digital File/Use Only, Color/Grey-scale, Regular Service/Rush Delivery, etc.).  


Note: If you are planning on on using an MNHS image in a public setting, you should visit our Photographs: Use Permissions and Licensing guide for more information about the use permissions process.    

Online Images with no "Buy" button
Images that are in Collections Online that do not have a 'Buy' button cannot be purchased through the online system.  They likely have a copyright, donor, or other restriction on them.  In many cases, these images cannot be purchased from MNHS, but they may be available for purchase from another source, such as the artist or photographer. If the creator information is known it will be found in the record for the image.

Contact our permissions team at for more information on images without "Buy" buttons.  

Images from MNHS collections (manuscripts, state archives, etc.)
To order photographs--or digital scans of documents or other items--from manuscripts and other collections, use the Image Order Form.  Only images not in the Collections Online database should be ordered with this form.  

[Note: this form is for duplication only. For non-personal uses/licensing, the Image Use/Permission Request form is also required.  See our Permissions and Licensing FAQ for more information.]

Prices for Prints and Digital Scans

The price of a paper print is determined by the size of the paper. 

8.5 x 11 inches $15.00
13 x 19  inches $20.00
16 x 21 inches $30.00

If you need a print that is larger than 16 x 21, you should order a digital scan and then have it printed at a shop that can make large prints and/or posters. Please note that the lower resolution scans will pixelate when blown up significantly.    


Digital Scans:
The price of a digital scan of regular-sized materials* is determined by the resolution of the image.  See "Selecting a File Type" below for more information.   

Minimum: 1500 pixel digital file $7.00
Medium: 3000 pixel digital file  $20.00
Large: 6000 pixel digital file $30.00
Maximum: 12000 pixel digital file $60.00

*Digital copies of original materials that are larger than 16 x 20 inches cost $30.00.  This oversized category includes things like maps and architectural drawings.  

Minnesota Historical Society Members receive a 10% discount on image duplications. 


Selecting a File Type for Digital Scans

We describe the resolution of digital scans as a file size and the number of pixels along the longest side of the image.  

To determine the resolution in standard ppi (pixels per inch): divide the number of pixels by the length of the long side.  Thus, if the original photograph is an 8 x 10 inch print and you order a minimum quality scan, divide the 1500 pixels by 10 inches for a resolution of 150ppi.

File Type Best For
Minimum quality (1500 pixels)  Internet publishing, reports, and presentations
Medium quality (3000 pixels)  most publishing and small enlargements for display
Large quality (6000 pixels) high end publishing and quality enlargements for display
Maximum quality (12000 pixels) enlarging the image for exhibit, very large display, and murals


Pay by Credit CardCheck out stations in a store at Sun Ray Shopping Center, Hudson Road near McKnight Road South, St. Paul, 9/12/1957

  • Pay through the online system or put your number on the paper form
  • Call our Copy Services staff (651-259-3301) and provide a credit card number, or we can call you.  (If you ordered online, be sure to also have your order number in hand when you call.)  
  • Pay in person at the Copy Services window in the Reading Room.  


Pay by Check

  • Place your order in the online system.  During the checkout process, select "offline payment" and then send your check in the mail. (If ordering via paper form, mail them together to the address on form.)
  • Pay in person at the Copy Services window in the Reading Room.  


Pay in Cash

  • Pay in person at the Copy Services window in the Reading Room.  


Note:  We cannot process any Image Orders until payment is received.  


Timeline for Delivery

  • When your order is received, we will first check to be sure that the image can be copied, according to our guidelines, copyright restrictions, etc.  
  • Non-Rush orders will be completed within 7 days of permission being granted for copying.  
  • Rush orders will be completed in 1-3 business days from the date of permission.  Rush service is available for an added fee of 100% of the cost per image.  
  • Please contact us for a completion date for orders with 40+ images.

Methods of Delivery

  • You should select the shipping/delivery method that works best for you during the online shopping process.  Shipping and handling are included in the price. 
  • You may choose to pick-up your order during Reference Library hours.
  • Prints will be shipped rolled in a tube via US Mail.
  • JPEG formatted files under 1MB or 1000k are sent via e-mail.
  • Large JPEG and TIFF formatted files are delivered through a secure FTP site.
  • For security reasons we cannot copy files onto disks or flash drives provided by customers.
  • A packing slip and/or use and permission PDF is shipped/emailed with each order.
Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm • Wed. to Sat.: 9am to 4pm • Sunday & Monday: Closed • Holiday Hours