Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society

About the Virtual Museum and Archive

Welcome to the virtual museum and archive of the history of financial regulation, providing access to primary materials on the creation and growth of the regulation of the capital markets from the 20th century to the present.

This museum is a collection of keyword-searchable materials selected for inclusion by the Society because of the historical importance of the subject matter.

The museum opened on June 1, 2002 as an entirely virtual archive; there is no physical repository.

How is the virtual museum's collection different?

The museum's materials are unique in character. Many of them are products of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Additional materials come from other federal and state agencies, the judiciary, the press corps, and national media.

The purpose of preserving these materials is to assist current and future researchers in understanding how the system of statutes, regulations and government policies for the capital markets developed and were interpreted. To further this goal, the museum includes not only rare, internal correspondence and reports (within the 'papers' series), but also Society-commissioned historical essays (within the 'galleries' series), webcasts (within the 'programs' series), and oral histories of principal participants in the history. Other unique materials complement these resources.

How do I find what I'm looking for?

Research in the museum is flexible. A researcher can seek information through a themed 'gallery' or 'exhibit,' regarding specific topics. Alternatively, a researcher can do key word searches to locate specific items, and filter the search to focus on different record types, such as oral histories, papers, and photos.

How do you decide what to put into the collection?

With a few exceptions, the museum generally does not contain materials which are easily obtainable elsewhere. Thus, to gain a complete understanding of the legal parameters of the government regulation of capital markets, researchers likely will need to access additional primary sources.

Among the items generally not included in the museum's collection are federal and state statutes, most Congressional testimony, hearings, reports, and the Congressional Record.

Also, generally omitted from the collection are official agency materials currently available on the SEC's website (e.g., proposed rules, concept releases, policy statements, no-action letters, SEC decisions and reports), items in the Federal Register (e.g., regulations, meeting notices), and similar official government publications. These items are easily available from multiple legal and government databases.

The museum's collection is organized into the following categories:

  • Timeline: A link between regulatory developments and U.S. and world events from 1930 to the present.
  • Galleries: Permanent exhibits within the museum, providing access to materials from throughout the collection on a particular topic.
  • Exhibits: Representative materials in the collection regarding a specific person or topic.
  • Papers: Letters, speeches, remarks, statements, notes and other written materials.
  • Programs: Webcasts of panels, roundtables and discussions originally broadcast live on and preserved in various audio and video formats.
  • Oral Histories: Interviews with individuals that focus on their professional careers. Available in video and/or audio/MP3, and edited transcript formats.
  • Photos: Still pictures of people, places and items.
  • Film, Radio and Television: Collection of audio and video recordings.
Fuller (Flatiron) Building - 1909

Building the Virtual Museum and Archive

Visitors are welcome to recommend material to be added to the collection by contacting the Executive Director.

Get connected for updates on new materials and upcoming programs in the museum.

Permission for Use

The virtual museum and archive is copyrighted by the SEC Historical Society. The Society reserves the right to restrict access to or use of the museum by any user at any time.

Users are prohibited from sharing or downloading any material for publication or commercial purposes without written permission from the Executive Director. Requests for permission must be submitted by email and specify the material requested and for what purpose.

Material used with the Society's permission should be credited to: