Guidelines on Use of Restricted Original Archival Records

The Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections Materials list several cases when original archival materials are not available for research. These particular guidelines cover instances when copies are available or the physical value or deteriorating condition of the record justifies restricting access.

Available Copies:

The Connecticut State Archives is responsible for preserving one-of-a-kind archival records for use by current and future citizens, government officials, and employees.

When copies of records exist in microfilm, photocopy, Photostat, or photograph formats, researchers must use them.

Physical Condition:

Original archival records may be in such a condition that their use would result in destruction of the item(s) and information.

The State Archives reserves the right to restrict access on these grounds and to discuss with a researcher strategies for retrieving the information when copies are not available.

Physical Value:

The Connecticut State Archives contain original records whose physical value requires limiting access. Examples include the Fundamental Orders, Connecticut’s official copies of the Declaration of Independence, and the First Twelve Amendments to the Construction (Bill of Rights). Other examples are letters by famous persons such as Samuel Clemens, George Washington, and Clara Barton.

The State Library’s mission requires the State Archives to protect valuable public property by removing original unique items from active use. All of the intrinsically valuable documents cited above currently are available for public examination in Memorial Hall in the Museum of Connecticut History (CSL).

The object of this policy is not to restrict information contained within original records meeting the above criteria. Whenever possible, the State Archives provides copies of these items for researchers’ use.

Researchers wanting to look at restricted originals may apply to the State Archives. The State Archivist reserves the right to deny any request. If possible, staff will make a decision within five working days.

Prepared by the State Archives, Connecticut State Library, 11-96.