About the HMRC

The mission of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) is to locate, preserve, and make available to researchers the documentary evidence of Houston's history. HMRC is located in the historic Julia Ideson Building. Created in 1976, HMRC furthers its mission by providing in-depth reference services using materials including the Texas and local history book collection, archives, photographs, architectural drawings, oral histories, and maps. Librarians and Archivists are responsible for arranging, preserving, and indexing the contents of these unique collections.

The Julia Ideson Building, a City of Houston Protected Landmark, a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark, a Texas State Archaeological Landmark and a landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was designed by the esteemed firm of Cram & Ferguson and dedicated in 1926. The building served the City of Houston as its central library until the opening of the adjacent Jesse Jones building in 1976.

To learn more about the Julia Ideson Building, click here to access our online tour.

Planning Your Visit to HMRC

Before visiting, consider contacting HMRC. Some of our materials, such as architectural drawings and photographs, require an appointment with HMRC staff to meet your needs due to the large size, location, or fragile nature.

The HMRC can be reached at 832-393-1662 and is located at 500 McKinney St, Houston, Texas 77002. Parking is available beneath the adjacent Central Library for $2 per hour. The entrance to the garage is on Lamar Street.

Texas Room and Collection Use Rules:

  • Pencils, note taking materials, cell phones, and personal computers are allowed in the Texas Room. All other personal property shall be stored in secure lockers which are provided free of charge. HMRC is not responsible for the security of personal belongings.
  • HMRC is an ink-free facility. Pencils are available at the Reference Desk.
  • No materials in the custody of HMRC may be removed from the Texas Room. Personal property and research notes may be inspected before leaving.
  • A government issued ID is required to view our archival collections.
  • Please do not re-shelve or return any materials.
  • Food, beverages, and other consumables, such as gum, tobacco, and cough drops, are not allowed in the Texas Room.
  • Personal communication devices should be set to vibrate or turned off. Please take all calls outside of the Texas Room.
  • Use of cameras and some personal scanning devices may be allowed with staff approval. Additional light or physical contact is damaging to the materials and is not allowed.
  • The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright, literary property rights, privacy, and libel.


  • HMRC materials may be photocopied if the physical condition and intellectual property restrictions of the item(s) permit.
  • Digital photographs of unrestricted HMRC materials may be made without the use of a flash.
  • Images from microfilm can either be saved to a flash drive or printed on the photocopier for $0.15 each.
  • A self-service photocopier is available. All copies are $0.15 each. At this time, no credit cards are accepted.

Consider bringing a sweater as the Texas Room is kept cold for the preservation of materials. Also, consider bringing a personal camera and/or USB flash drive. Many materials can be photographed without flash and copies from the microfilms can be saved for free to a flash drive.

For further questions, please contact us at (832) 393-1662 or via email.

Upcoming Events at the Julia Ideson Building

Julia Ideson Building Tour

Join us on the First Saturday of every month for a tour of the historic Julia Ideson Building. Formerly Houston Public Library’s “Central” Branch, the Julia Ideson Building is a beautiful Spanish Renaissance building in the heart of downtown. Learn about the history and use of the building, the renovations and additions, as well as the significance of its art and architecture. Free one-hour tours of the Ideson Building begin at 11 a.m. at the reception desk in the lobby. Tours are available on a first come basis and are limited to 20 people. If you would like to schedule a tour for a group of 10 or more, please contact 832-393-1662.


Texas Room Orientation

On the Third Saturday of every month, Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) will offer a Texas Room orientation.  In our monthly orientation, patrons can learn about the variety of resources available through the Texas Room and the types of collections and materials available through HMRC. Find out how to get started with your research and ways to get the most out of your research.  No reservations required.

HMRC Policies and Procedures

Collections Policies

HMRC is pleased to make available the two major policies that guide staff in developing and protecting HMRC collections, the HMRC Archival Collections Management Policy and the HMRC's Texas and Local History Collection Development Plan.

Photo and Publication Policies and Procedures

Reproductions of materials from HMRC archival collections may be ordered by filling out the Reproduction Request Form. Prices for reproductions are available on this schedule.

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