Using Our Archives

We treat the archive like treasure

Ink, food, liquids, and even oil or dirt on our fingertips can be dangerous to fragile, archival collections. We use several precautions to preserve our materials so that researchers can continue to explore them for generations to come. 

With certain restricted materials, you may be required to obtain permission from outside parties before we will allow you to handle them.

What to expect when you visit

First, please register

We will request that you register and provide us with your name , address, and signature, as well as your research topic.

  • The BFCA is a closed-stack library. All requested materials are brought to you by archive staff.
  • Coats, briefcases, parcels, and personal books are not permitted in the research area. Please leave them at the registration desk.
  • No ink of any kind may be used in the research area; use pencils only.
  • Computers may be brought into the archive and used at the discretion of the archivist.
  • Smoking, eating, and drinking are prohibited in the archive.

  • You will be asked to handle materials with clean hands; the staff will provide you with gloves to be worn when handling photographs and other fragile materials.
  • All archival materials must be handled carefully: use only one folder at a time and keep the papers in their existing order. Do not place books or volumes face down.
  • Do not lean or press on archival materials. Do not trace maps or other records.
  • No material in the archive may be removed from the research area.

  • If you want to request access to restricted materials, you must contact the person or agency imposing the restrictions. The archive cannot permit access to these materials without written authority.
  • It is the responsibility of individual researchers, not the archive, to obtain copyright clearance to publish or otherwise reproduce or distribute archival material. Whenever possible, our archivist will provide the names and addresses of copyright holders.
  • If publishing material from the archive, please credit the archive.