Historic Takoma’s Archives

Care and Handling

These Guidelines apply to all persons using the archives including Historic Takoma volunteers and all visitors and researchers.

Workspace Use

  1. Extraneous materials (exhibit materials, personal items, etc.)  are kept out of the collections management and reference library areas.
  2. The Archives are off-limits to all but the Archives Committee Collections materials are cordoned from public access. Reference library (Reading Room) materials will be closed to the public during events..
  3. Food and liquids are not permitted in the Archives area at any time.
  4. No backpacks, briefcases, or other containers are allowed in the public workspace. Notebooks, loose paper, cell phones, tablets, computers, handheld scanners, and cameras may be used in the public workspace. 
  5. Self-sticking notes, paper clips, and staplers are not allowed in the public archives workspace.

Safe Handling Practices for Archival Records

  1. Outside visitors using the Archives are supervised by Historic Takoma volunteers who will provide materials requested by visitors. There is no public access to collections materials storage.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry hands before working with archival records. Do not apply hand lotion or cream prior to handling archival records. Make sure the work area is clean and flat.
  3. Use only pencils. Pens are not allowed when using or accessing archival materials. Do not write on archival records. Avoid placing note taking papers or pads  on top of records or leaning directly on archival records. Tracing maps or other records, or the use of “post-it” or other self-sticking notes, staples or paper clips on archival records is not permitted.
  4. Archival records should only be viewed on the table available in the research area. Please leave archival records flat on the table surface as much as possible. Avoid letting records overhang past the table’s edge. Keep records on the table rather than in your hands to read them.
  5. Do not lean on documents and materials; avoid touching surfaces as much as possible. Avoid touching all fragile surfaces (such as flaking ink, photos, etc.)
  6. Keep archive records in their original order.
  7. Handle photographic materials by edges only.Use powderless nitrile, latex, or white cotton gloves when using fragile non-encapsulated photographic collections and architectural drawings. 
  8. Always handle archival records with both hands and over a table to ensure the safety of the record.
  9. Only one archival record (folder or item) is to be handled at a time. Use a marker card to indicate where the record was in the box. Replace one record before retrieving another. Handle records carefully and deliberately.
  10. Fragile, sensitive, or oversized materials may need to be carried on a carrying board (large piece of foam-core or cardboard) to prevent tearing, folding, or dragging, etc.
  11. Avoid forcing volumes open to 180º so they lie flat. Certain types of archival records, such as rolled items, blueprints and glass plate negatives, may have special handling needs, which should be understood prior to handling.
  12. Do not risk damaging framed objects by moving them any more than is absolutely necessary. If you must move the framed object, clear the pathway of furniture and obstructions and prepare a location to receive it. If the framed object is of a manageable size, lift the frame with both hands by placing one hand in the center of each side. Always carry framed objects with the image side facing you.
  13.  No flash photography is allowed.

Safe Handling Practices for Archival Books

  1. Books are complex structures that are easily damaged by mishandling. Follow the guidelines for archival records, as well as those given below for books. 
  2. Remove the required book from a shelf by pushing the volumes at either side slightly inwards then pull out the required book by holding the partly exposed sides.
  3. Do not open books flat on a table. A book cradle, provided in the research area, should be used to support an archival book when it is being consulted.
  4.  Open a book by sections, to avoid excessive flicking through pages. Turn each page from the top outer corner – not from the bottom, turn the pages carefully. For heavier items (eg atlases) support page turning by holding a hand under the page.
  5. Do not place an open book face down. Do not stack open books.
  6. Use both hands when handling books, particularly when carrying over-size volumes.
  7. Heavy books should be laid on their sides – but not stacked.
  8. Use a book cradle if appropriate.

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