Frequently Asked Questions
Where are you located, and what are your hours?
Visit the Ransom Center to see our free exhibitions, attend events, or conduct research in the Reading and Viewing Room. Information about our hours, location, tours, and parking and transportation options is available on our website.
Who is eligible to use the Ransom Center's collections?
The Ransom Center welcomes all researchers and visitors. Information about accessing the Center's collections in our Reading and Viewing Room and setting up a research account is available on our website.
How can I search the Ransom Center's collections?
The Ransom Center offers several resources and tools to help you search the collections.
Who can answer my research questions? Can someone do research for me?
Contact a curator or research associate with research questions about collection materials. Although Ransom Center staff answer questions to the best of their ability, they cannot perform research for patrons. If a visit to the Center is not possible, patrons may hire a proxy researcher to work with Ransom Center materials on their behalf. The Center maintains a list of such researchers that is available upon request.
How can I order reproductions of Ransom Center collection materials?
Information and resources about rights and reproductions for Ransom Center collection materials are available on our website.
Where can I find information about traveling to Austin and visiting the Ransom Center?
The University of Texas at Austin provides a helpful list of resources for travelers to Austin. Specific information about visiting the Ransom Center is available on our website.
Does the Ransom Center loan collection materials to other museums?
Yes. All loan requests are subject to a formal approval procedure guided by the Center's Exhibition Loan Policy and Conditions for Loans.
Does the Ransom Center host traveling exhibitions?
In support of the Ransom Center's mission, our exhibitions showcase materials from the Ransom Center's collections. As such, the Center does not host traveling exhibitions.
How do I offer collection material to the Ransom Center?
If you would like to offer collection material to the Ransom Center, please email Associate Director for Acquisitions and Administration Megan Barnard or the appropriate curator. Please provide a description and image of the material being offered and indicate whether it is being offered as a donation or for purchase. Given the focused nature of the Center's holdings and the significant investment the Center makes to catalog, preserve, and make available collections, the Ransom Center must be selective about the material it acquires. The Center's Collection Development Policy offers helpful guidance about material the Center considers for its collections.
Can you tell me how much my item is worth or authenticate it?
Ransom Center staff cannot appraise or authenticate works or endorse specific appraisers. To find out how much your item is worth, contact a professional appraiser. Resources to help you locate an appraiser are available through the American Society of Appraisers, the Appraisers Association of America, the International Society of Appraisers, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. Additional information about rare books and their values is available in the Your Old Books guide sponsored by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, and the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Additional information about art items is available through Artnet.
How can I find a conservator to treat my item?
Find professional conservators in your area through the search resources made available by the American Institute for Conservation.
Who is Harry Ransom?
Harry Huntt Ransom (1908–1976) joined The University of Texas as an English Professor in 1935, became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1954, and was promoted to Vice President and Provost of the University in 1957. In 1957, Ransom founded the Ransom Center, then called the Humanities Research Center, and was deeply involved in its activities for the rest of his career. Ransom served as President of the University from 1960 to 1961 when he became Chancellor of the University of Texas System. After his retirement as Chancellor in 1971, Ransom assumed the title of Director of Special Collections.
How does the Ransom Center relate to other libraries and museums at The University of Texas at
The Ransom Center is complemented by a rich community of libraries, museums, and archival institutions at The University of Texas at Austin, including the University of Texas Libraries, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Art Galleries at Black Studies, the Alexander Architectural Archive, the Fine Arts Library, the Tarlton Law Library, the H. J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, among others. A guide to the University's extensive collections was published in 2015 and offers an overview of the diverse artifacts held at The University of Texas at Austin.