Archives are wonderful places to do research, but they have a lot of rules about what you can and cannot bring inside while you work. Fair enough, they are protecting their collection. One of the main issues that archives have is the bringing in of bags – purses, computer bags, briefcases – most archives I have gone into ban them. What you need you have to carry.
Some archives kindly provide clear or opaque bags where you can stash the essentials, and this is great. But I am always a bit frustrated by the process of transfer – putting my things in their bag.
So I have come up with a solution which makes my life easier and still gives the archives’ security the ability to see everything I am bringing in and out.
The last time I bought sheets for my bed I saved the bag they came in. It was clear, legal paper sized, and had a zipper so everything stays inside. I use it to keep my “archives kit,” the essentials that I use in archives that stay in the container all the time.
Kleenex, archives gloves, usb key (lego shaped because lego shaped), pencils, retracting eraser, notebook, copy cards, business card (because I am a professional!) post it notes, and camera charger. I also bring my camera – but that was what I was using to take the picture….
When I get to the archives I also put in my cell phone, wallet and the cord for my computer. And voila – everything I need for research in a compact, tidy container.