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How should I handle rare and fragile materials at the Glenbow Western Research Centre?

Since many of the items housed in Archives and Special Collections are rare, unique or fragile, special care must be taken when handling them in our reading room, the Glenbow Western Research Centre (GWRC). The co-operation of researchers is requested in order to preserve materials. All Archives and Special Collections materials are non-circulating and may only be used in GWRC. Staff in the GWRC will be happy to advise you on proper handling of rare items. Please note:

  • Coats, bags and briefcases are to be stored in the lockers and coat rack provided.
  • Only pencils are used for note-taking in the GWRC.
  • Cell phones, tablets and laptops are permitted.
  • Eating and drinking are not permitted.
  • Cotton or nitrile gloves (supplied) may be required for the handling of some materials.
  • Books must be placed flat on the table or be supported on a book pillow or cradle. Book weights for holding pages open are available in the GWRC.
  • Archival materials must be kept in the order in which they are placed in a folder, and must not be re-arranged or removed from the folder. Please use only one box, one file at a time to assist in maintaining order of materials.

For questions about handling rare and fragile materials, or to book an appointment in the reading room, contact the Archives and Special Collections Reference Team at

Watch the video below for more information:

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