Historical Societies and Archives
Before you Visit:
Using Archives for National History Day from the American Association of Archivists
Be aware that Historical Societies and Archives are not like local libraries. Often collections are stored off site, so be sure to call the archives and explain what you’d like to look at before you go. This will allow them to have the material ready for you and they may have found more material related to your topic.
There are certain rules you may have to follow, for example:
- You’ll probably be asked to sign in, show a picture I.D., and complete a registration form.
- You will probably be asked to put away your coat, bag and other belongings that you don’t need for research before entering the research area. Lockers and coat racks are usually provided.
- Food and drink are never allowed in the research area.
- You will be asked to use only a pencil, not a pen, to take notes. Most archives will allow you to use a laptop computer, but ask before you go.
- You will be required to handle the materials with care and maintain them in the order in which you receive them.
- You will be watched by an archivist while you use the material.
- Gloves may be provided to wear when you handle photographs.
- You may or may not be allowed to take digital photos of the materials.
- There may be an entrance fee at the archives of fees associated with the use and copying of the material.