Some tips for planning an archival research trip
Weeks or even Months before:
Contact the archives
- To tell them what you’re interested in looking at
- They can tell you if the material is open to researchers or restricted (or if you need to apply to gain access)
- To tell them the dates of your trip
- They may be able to pull some of the material you’re interested in for your arrival so that you can get started right away on day 1 rather than waiting for the material to be retrieved
- This is also helpful in cases where material is stored off-site and needs to be brought in
Research the archive
- Where are they located? What room in what building accessible by what elevator?
- Often this is fairly straightforward. But places like the Weill Cornell Medical Center Archives are only accessible by one elevator (in a building with multiple elevators) that you need to call using a phone in the hall.
- What are their hours? Do they close for lunch? Are the hours the same every day?
- What are the photocopying policies/cost?
- What are the policies re: the use of digital cameras?
- What are the retrieval hours of the archive?
Prepare your “Toolbox”
- Also: turn off the “beep” on your camera, and the auto-correct function on your word processing program
The Night Before
- Charge your laptop battery
- Charge all of your camera batteries
- Confirm that you know where you’re going and when the archive opens