Handle with Care: How to Handle Archival Boxes Properly

We have all carried a box or two in our lives. Some, we are more careful with, like our grandmother’s china. Others, like a box of winter clothes we are anxious to put away, may not require such care. Think of archival boxes as you would your grandmother’s precious china. The box of records you are given to consult may contain documents that are hundreds of years old and one of a kind. To help us continue to preserve and protect these documents, our consultation staff have prepared a quick list of Do’s and Don’ts to guide you in the proper care and handling of archival boxes and their contents:

Do’s

  • Hold the box with two hands, using one hand to support the bottom of the box.
  • Keep the box close to your body when transferring it from one surface to another. Bring the box to the consultation staff immediately if you suspect it contains mould.
  • Take one file at a time out of the box.
  • Close the lid once you have retrieved your file.
  • Make sure that the entire record rests on the surface of the table and that no part hangs over the edge.
  • Inform the consultation staff if you notice that the box is damaged. Staff will make arrangements to re-box it.
  • Use only pencils near archival documents.
  • Use the blue flags provided in the research areas to bookmark a page.
  • Use the carts provided to move a box from the table to the returns cart, to the lockers or back to consultation staff.

Don’ts

  • Place the container on the floor.
  • Rearrange the order of the documents in the file or the box.
  • Use hand lotion or hand sanitizer while handling the box or its contents.
  • Use metal clips or sticky notes on the documents.
  • Use the box handles, as this action could damage the box and the material inside.
  • Lean on the records.

If you have any questions while consulting archival documents, please feel free to ask the staff at the consultation desk who will gladly help you out.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

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