Answered By: Sara Janes
Last Updated: May 15, 2024     Views: 62

Archival research can be both very difficult and very rewarding. The archive does not always have all of the information you want, and sometimes that information may take some time to find. However, the information in archives is unique, and working with original materials can provide you with additional details not always found in published materials.

You'll want to start by determining whether the Archives has material that is useful to your research. The Archives has dozens of collections and fonds (a fonds is a set of records created by one person or organization) which address a variety of different subjects. You might be interested in an entire fonds, or just one file or item. You can look through existing archival descriptions at or contact the Archives ahead of time for assistance. 

When visiting the Archives, you'll need to follow some basic rules to help keep the documents in good condition:

No food or drink is allowed.

Handle the documents carefully.

You may have to wear gloves.

Archives staff will retrieve the records you would like to look at, and you'll be able to consult the original documents.

As you read through the documents, you can take notes, transcribe, or take photographs. The Archives staff can also provide you with photocopies and scans in most cases.