Procedures for the Care and Handling of Archival Materials

All archival records provided to researchers must be handled with care and under the general supervision of staff. All material should be handled with clean, dry hands or with use of cotton gloves. Researchers should wash their hands before they begin their research in the Reading Room.

Archival records designated as brittle or unstable must be handled with extreme care and under guidance of UAA staff members.

Some archival materials, such as photographs, require gloves for handling. Please use gloves provided by UAA staff members.

Materials should be returned to the Reading Room supervisor if the researcher needs to leave the Reading Room for more than 15 minutes. Items should be returned to their folder(s) and into their box.

Retrieval Procedures to Manage Risk Associated with Temperature Change

Acclimatization of materials leaving and entering cold storage is necessary to prevent physical damage. Incorrect acclimatization can cause condensation to form, leading to water damage, or “shock” the item causing cracking or splitting. Items being removed from colder temperatures are more delicate and therefore require careful handling.

Staff will utilize either coolers for acclimatizing a significant quantity of materials or polyethylene zip-closure bags for individual items.

A general guideline is to allow materials to acclimatize at least 24 hours prior to removal from their enclosures.

Procedures to Manage Daylight Exposure to Archival Materials

Daylight exposure needs to be minimized for the long-term preservation of archival materials due to their sensitivity to light, which will cause deterioration such as embrittlement, colour changes, fading, etc.

The Reading Room monitor (e.g., student PSA) is responsible for ensuring that the Reading Room blinds are pulled down during the day, particularly if it is sunny out, in order to protect the materials from light exposure.

Only one archival folder should be removed from an archival box at a time. Researchers should be encouraged to close archival folders, and put photographs back into their envelopes, if they will be leaving the Reading Room for a short time. Larger materials such as portrait photographs or blueprints can be flipped over so the image side is facing down.

Materials should be put away into their storage folders and boxes and UAA staff notified if researchers will be gone for longer than 15 minutes.