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What is an archive?

When using the word “archive”, it can fit into one of three different definitions:

  1. Materials created or received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the
    conduct of their affairs and preserved because of the enduring value contained in the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator, especially those materials maintained using the principles of provenance, original order, and collective control; permanent records.
  2. The division within an organization responsible for maintaining the organization’s records of enduring value.
  3. An organization that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations; a
    collecting archives.

Where is the Archives located?

The Easton Collections Center (ECC) is located across the street from the Museum of Northern Arizona located at 3101 N. Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff, Arizona. Take the first right hand turn from the right hand turn lane opposite of the entrance to the Museum of Northern Arizona – sign indicates Easton Collections Center. The ECC is building 21 on the map available on the Hours, Admission & Directions page.

Where is the Library located?

The Harold S. Colton Research Center (HCRC) is located across the street from the Museum of Northern Arizona located at 3101 N. Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff, Arizona. Take the first right hand turn from the right hand turn lane opposite of the entrance to the Museum of Northern Arizona – sign indicates Easton Collections Center. The Library is building 10 on the map available on the Hours, Admission & Directions page. The easiest way to access the library is by entering the Research Center (building 9) and walking straight to the end of the hallway.

Can I donate materials to the Library or Archive?

The Library & Archives accepts donations of gifts, manuscript collections, papers, photographs, books, and other materials in accordance with the Museum Development Office’s guidance, the Collections Management Policy, and the Library’s Collection Development Plan. The best place to start is by contacting the Museum’s Development Office.

There is no guarantee that any unsolicited items received by the Library & Archives will be added to Library & Archives holdings. If unsolicited items are received, the Library & Archives has the right to handle the materials as they see fit which may include transfer or disposal. The best way to donate and ensure care of your items is to contact our Development Office.

Can I intern with the Library or Archive?

Students in Library Science, Public History, or Museum Studies, who are interested an internship in the Archives or Library should contact the Archivist the semester prior to their internship with the following information:

  • Your College / University
  • Your Program
  • Contact information for your faculty adviser and/or internship coordinator
  • Is the internship for credit (if not please look at the information above on volunteering)
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Special interests or skills you want to focus on

Please speak to your faculty adviser to find out what paperwork is needed for the Museum to be an internship site for your program. If the internship needs to be posted on your program’s site, please provide a contact person or a link to your program’s instructions for setting up an internship. Currently, we are set-up to work with students in the Museum Studies and Public History programs at Northern Arizona University and San Jose State University’s School of Information.

If the Museum’s Collections Department has paid internships available, those internships will be posted on our Careers page.

Do you offer tours of the collections?

See the Collections Tours information page.

Can I volunteer with the museum?

Individuals interested in volunteering to help with any of the archives and library projects, please see the Volunteer section of the Museum’s website.

What are the Library & Archive hours?

The Library & Archives are currently open by appointment only. Contact the Archivist to make an appointment to view the collections. General hours are Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm.

What does the archivist need to know in order to assist me?

  1. Do you have a deadline?
  2. Have you searched for and read the finding aid for the collection if one is available? MNA’s finding aids can be found on the Library & Archives Home Page.
  3. Have you filled out the Request for Collections Access form?
  4. Are you looking for photos, documents, or films or will anything do if it might have your information?
  5. Subject terms – What are you looking for? While this is of moderate use given the current levels of description, it will improve with time and helps us to get a handle on what record groups you may be interested in examining and how you think about them.
  6. Dates – Circa dates work just fine, but if you have a specific year that is helpful.
  7. Names of projects you are interested in researching and people involved with those projects.
  8. Have you scheduled an appointment to view the collection? The archivist is rarely available for drop-in appointments.
  9. Have you obtained tribal permission to view culturally-sensitive materials? It is your responsibility to get permission to access sensitive materials. You must obtain written permission from the tribal or cultural entity to gain access to these materials.
  10. Correct, full citations – Having correct citations for requested materials will allow for faster identification and location of the item.

What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a document that serves as a Table of Contents or an inventory for a collection and helps with the identification and location of materials. It helps you understand what was happening in the life of the creator and breaks the collection down into understandable components. A good finding aid will provide you as much information as browsing a library shelf will without all the effort of pulling down every box and looking in it.

A finding aid contains the following components

  • Title of the collection or record group (i.e. Wetherill Family collection)
  • Date range of the collection (i.e. 1867-1964, predominantly 1906-1946) – NOTICE these are the dates for the items in the collection (photos, text, etc.), not the dates for the artifacts found on excavations. For example, Glen Canyon Project records will note the years of the Glen Canyon Project, NOT the years for artifacts found on excavations associated with the Glen Canyon Project.
  • Extent or size of the collection (how much of each format)
  • Biographical or Organizational History
  • Scope and Content – What is in the collection? Does it only represent a portion of a person’s life or a business’s history? Is there a specific subject focus?
  • System of Arrangement – How is this particular collection arranged – record or series groups, alphabetical or chronological within groups? Was there original order?
  • Conditions Governing Access – Are there any publication or access restrictions on the collection – donor restrictions, cultural sensitivity issues, etc.?
  • Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use – Specifically notes concerned with copyright – a public warning and reminder to abide by copyright law and be aware of what actually constitutes fair use.
  • Languages and Scripts of the materials, notes on additional languages represented in the materials and if specific paleographic styles are represented.
  • Finding Aids – Are there additional finding aids, either more detailed or older descriptions of the collection that may contain additional information?
  • Custodial History – Provenance of the materials including who held it when.
  • Immediate Sources of Acquisition – Who donated it to the repository?
  • Accruals – How many accessions make up the collection? When did each piece come to the repository?
  • Related Materials – Are there related collections within other departments or at other repositories?
  • Description Control – Who, what standard, and when was this finding aid written?
  • Series – Description which includes a title, scope, dates, extent but for a subsection of the collection rather than for the whole. This section is usually, though not always, broken down into box and folder level descriptions.
  • LCSH Access Points – Library of Congress subject and author headings.

What should I bring to my research appointment?

Visitors should bring their research notes, pencils, and paper. The use of pens around archival material is prohibited. While we have some scratch paper for researcher use, there may not be enough for your research needs. A long-sleeved shirt, jacket, or sweater is highly encouraged as work areas can be cool, if not cold. The Library & Archives may allow the use of cell phones and photography equipment for research copies. Photocopies and scans are available for a fee. The Library & Archives accepts cash (exact change only) and checks.

Why aren’t there more Library & Archives materials available online?

The Library & Archives strives to allow greater access to its collections via electronic, digital, and online resources. We are constantly innovating the ways in which we collect, identify, store, preserve, and provide access to materials given our limited resources.There are several reasons that the current online resources for library and archives holdings are limited. Materials within the Library & Archives are subject to copyright. We are constantly striving to determine the materials to which we have copyright so that we can provide these items to the public without concern for violating the intellectual rights of others.

The Museum, and by extension, the Library & Archives have determined that respecting the beliefs, practices, and requests of Native American tribes and governments is of critical concern. As a result, many of our holdings have restrictions placed on them at the request of Native American governments and agencies. Due to our limited resources, it has been common practice to not place collections online which have restrictions.

The Library & Archives currently lacks the infrastructure to provide significant portions of our collections online. Given our staff and resources, we have made strides to prepare our materials for eventual online publication. We also seek outside funding resources via grants and donations in order to finance our efforts to prepare our collections. While we work to develop our infrastructure, we have partnered with the Arizona Memory Project and Arizona Archives Online in order to provide some online access to our collections.

The Archives contain approximately 3,566 linear feet of material. Digitizing the entire archives would be the equivalent of 830 years of work if nothing else is ever received. The Library & Archives directly support MNA’s mission. To help support the MNA and the Library & Archives, contact our Development Department or see our Ways of Giving pages.

Are there special handling procedures for archival material?

In many cases, the Library & Archives materials require extra care. You may be asked to wear nitrile gloves. If you are sensitive to nitrile gloves, please bring cotton gloves.

Do the Library & Archives materials fall under the Fair Use Doctrine?

The Fair Use Doctrine (Section 107) allows people acting in good faith to reproduce copyrighted work for research, teaching, presentation, and other similar purposes. If you have questions about whether your intended use falls under the Fair Use doctrine please consult a staff member.

Is there a fee to make copies of, reproduce, or publish materials?

While there is no fee to access the collections, there are fees assessed for duplication and use outside of research. Fees collected are utilized to care for the physical and environmental preservation needs of the Library & Archives materials, and to provide for greater access. To request permission to use or publish materials, please fill out the Permission to Use form. To publish or otherwise utilize photographs from our collections, Commercial Photograph Use Fees or Non-Profit Photograph Use Fees will apply.

For more information on reproduction, fees, and access, see our Policies and Access page.