About 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 (JIB). 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.

The Julia Ideson building contains the City’s largest installation of public murals completed under the post-Depression-era Works Progress Administration. At that time, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center was established under the leadership of Harold M. Hyman, today the William P. Hobby Professor of History, Emeritus, at Rice University. The Julia Ideson library was altered to include six floors of storage through the center of the structure for archived materials. Since its inception in 1979, the HMRC's archival collections have outgrown the space available and require more sophisticated climate and humidity control, and appropriate storage facilities.

In October 2007, an independent 501c3 organization, the Julia Ideson Library Preservation Partners (JILPP) launched a major capital campaign. The Board of Directors raised more than $22 million of the $32 million goal, including $10 million from the City of Houston through the Downtown Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ #3.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new archival wing took place on January 12, 2009 and the restoration of the 1926 building's public spaces began in early 2010. The grand reopening took place on December 5, 2011.

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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