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Researching a building using the Northwest Architectural Archives

Using the Archives

Each collection in the Northwest Architecture Archives is unique and their degree of information is not uniform. There are many avenues of discovery and sometimes an address is not sufficient to find materials. The Archives staff use a number of resources to determine what materials we have in our collections, but rely primarily on the "finding aids". Finding aids are lists of materials in our collections. The materials we receive come in many forms and stages: addresses can change, copies may have been made when the original was lost, there may even be surprises in the collection. Thus, conducting research at the Northwest Architecture Archives can be complex, complicated, and requires a tailored approach for research. We are happy and excited to help you with your research.

If you would like to research any of our collections, please review our collections which are online at ArchiveSpace. Not all of the Northwest Architectural Archives collections have online finding aids, so if you do not locate what you need for your research, please check with the Archives staff. Please email us so we can work with you to find the best plan for your research.

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Helpful tips for research

There are three crucial pieces of information that can help determine if the Archives has any documentation on a building:

1. Name of the original owner (commission name) as it appeared on the building documentation or permit.

2. Year of construction

3. Architect’s name

You can request scans of the materials in our collections. Some are already available online, while others may need to be scanned by Libraries staff. Our ability to make copies of the archival materials depends on the type and condition of the material and the prices for scans range depending on materials condition, type, and size.

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