Frequently asked questions

What happens to the stuff I send to the archives?

Part I. Sending Materials to the Archives

Materials that are collected as part of the AHC History Project become part of the collections of the University Archives located in Andersen Library. At University Archives, the items will be processed according to professional standards and stored in a technologically advanced, climate controlled storage center located approximately 80 feet below ground level in a hollowed out limestone cavern. The “caverns,” as they are often referred to, house a concrete structure – essentially a building within the cavern – where the materials are stored. Access to the caverns is limited to Andersen Library staff.

University Archives is one of nearly a dozen units within Andersen Library that focuses on collecting, preserving, and providing access to historical information. Other units include the Charles Babbage Institute, the Immigration History Research Center, and Special Collections and Rare Books among others.

When material is shipped to Andersen Library it usually arrives in the archives work room (see below) located in the underground caverns. This is a common work space for all of the units in Andersen Library. Larger collections will be initially reboxed and processed in this space. Smaller collections can be brought upstairs to the individual unit and reboxed and processed in the unit’s office space.

The collection below is a relatively small shipment (7 boxes) of materials related to the AHC History Project. The boxes were shipped to the archives using a University of Minnesota Libraries service. The originating office labeled the boxes to be delivered to University Archives with an attention to the project archivist. The boxes are also label “1 of #” to guarantee all of the boxes were transported together and arrived safely. These boxes were brought up to the University Archives office space for initial processing.

The material in these white banker boxes will be placed in similar sized boxes that are of archival quality, meaning sturdier construction for handling and made of acid free materials. Some of the paper material may require being placed in folders or re-foldered due to the original folder’s deterioration or to create a uniformity among all folders.

Part II will look at the processing and physical arrangement phase that will make the materials ready for a researcher to use.