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  Step 5: Plan a Trip to the Archive and Research Center

If you've decided to pursue the archival records suggested to you, you'll want to plan your trip out to make best use of your time. Before you visit the archives there are some issues to keep in mind.


Contact the archives to make sure it will be open. Unlike public libraries you may be used to, most archives have more limited hours. Buildings may also be closed for holidays or in the case of an emergency. You should contact the archivist well in advance of your visit to make an appointment (at some archives this is mandatory) and also the day of your visit to confirm they are ready for your visit.


Parking can be a concern when visiting almost many archives (including all Area Research Centers) becauseso many are located on college campuses. Contact the archivist for recommendations for parking.

Who will come with you?

A parent or guardian can help save you time. Perhaps your teacher might want to visit the archives with you. You may also have other members involved in a group project who should accompany you in your appointment.

Bring money for photocopies.

Contact the archivist to find out how much individual copies cost. Some collections cannot be copied (due to age, condition or agreement with the people who donated the records). Be sure to ask the archivist in advance if the records you plan to work with can be photocopied.

What if I cannot make it to the archives?

Due to distance or time constraints, you may not be able to visit the archives in person. Some archives can provide photocopies or scans to be sent you for you to contact your research at home. There may be a fee for these services, remember to ask the archivist about their policies when you first make contact.

If you can make a trip to the archives then you are ready to move on to the last step:

Step 6: Researching at the Archives


1. Preliminary Research and Choose your Topic
2.Develop Research Question
3. Contact the Archivist
4. Decide if Archive Use is Appropriate
5. Plan a Trip to the Archives
6. Researching at the Archives