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Highland Archive Centre Public Guidance

Highland Archive Service is pleased to welcome you back to our facilities. We are re-opening in a phased way to help us to ensure that our centres provide a safe space for all, and that our services can be delivered safely. It also gives us the opportunity to review our approach with the flexibility to adjust our plans accordingly as required.


Opening Hours

The Highland Archive Centre has revised opening hours and the building will be closed over lunchtime. These opening hours will be reviewed regularly with the aim of offering increased services over time.

Bookable appointment slots are available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (mornings and afternoons).  We recommend  that you book at least two days in advance and preorder all documents ahead of your desired appointment. You can book both a morning and afternoon slot (if available) on your chosen day. Drop-in customers will also be accomodated as far as possible on the day.

Please e-mail [email protected] for further information, to make an appointment or to arrange a call-back to further discuss your needs.

A member of staff will advise about the appointment times available, your research and the documents you wish to view during your visit. You can pre-order up to 10 items per bookable slot and this can include original archive documents, microfilm and any reference books held in our library. Please give as much information as possible at this stage to ensure we have everything ready ahead of your visit.

If you cannot make it to your booked appointment, please contact us at the earliest possible opportunity to enable us to offer this appointment to someone else.

If you have symptoms of covid-19 before your visit (high temperature, new and continuous cough, loss of taste or smell) please do not come to the Centre.

These procedures will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and are therefore subject to change.


Preparing for your visit

We will send you guidance and information ahead of your visit, including a registration form to be completed prior to arrival.

It is important that you arrive on time for your appointment, not early. On arrival at the Highland Archive Centre please make your way upstairs (there is a lift just past the stairs) and follow the arrows into the Family History Centre. We ask that you wear a face covering whilst moving throughout the building during your visit (exceptions accepted).

There will be lockers available for your use, however please try and minimise the personal belongings you bring with you.

Please feel free to email [email protected] if you have any questions prior to your visit.

What to bring with you

  • Laptops – You can bring a laptop or tablet with you. Please let us know in advance if you will require a WiFi code or a charging point for your device as powerpoints are limited.
  • Stationery – Please bring your own pencils/sharpeners/paper, etc. with you. Pens are not permitted in the Searchroom to protect the documents.
  • Cameras – You can take photos of documents with your phone/digital camera, subject to copyright or other restrictions, however we are currently unable to undertake photocopying. There is a charge for camera use of £5 per day. Miniature scanners are not permitted.
  • Face Covering – We ask that you wear a face covering whilst moving throughout the building. (exceptions accepted).
  • Warm Clothing – We will have windows open to allow for fresh air circulation and the public areas will therefore not be as warm as usual.

What to expect when you visit

Arriving

On arrival at the Highland Archive Centre please make your way upstairs (there is a lift just past the stairs) and follow the arrows into the Family History Centre.

A member of staff in the Family History Centre will ask you to deposit any coats and bags into an available locker. You may take notebooks, pencils, tablets or laptops through to the Searchroom but these should be removed from your bag. Please remember no food or drink is permitted in the Searchroom.

You can then make your way through to the Searchroom, sanitising your hands prior to entering.  In the Searchroom staff will direct you to your desk where any documents you have requested ahead of your visit will be waiting along with document rests, weights, magnifying glass etc.

During your visit

  • We will ask you remain at your desk to minimise circulation around the room.
  • If you need to speak to a member of staff please signal and remain seated, and a member of staff will come to you.
  • Please note that the building will be closed between 12:30-2:00 to allow for enhanced cleaning of public areas and staff lunches.
  • If you need to leave the Searchroom for any reason during your visit we ask that you sanitise your hands on returning to the Searchroom.
  • Additional documents may now be ordered as part of your visit, please speak to a member of staff who will assist you.
  • Contactless payments would be the preferred payment method, however we will continue to accept cash for occasions when this is not possible.
  • Toilet facilities are available for customers on the first floor, and these are located immediately outside the Family History Centre.

At the end of your session

Please leave the documents and any other items you have been using on the table as they will be collected after you have left.

Please make your way to the Family History Centre to collect your items from your locker prior to making your way downstairs and exit through the main doors.

Please note that, in line with Scottish Government guidance, we will retain your name and contact details for use in Test and Protect for 21 days.


Available services

  • In-person research in the searchroom and in the Family History Centre – bookable appointments to come into the Centre and access collections. Drop-in customers will also be accomodated as far as possible on the day.
  • Scotland’s People – this service is administered by the Registration Service. Bookable appointment slots are now available on a limited basis. Please contact [email protected] to register your interest.
  • Remote archive and family history research – a member of staff can do research on your behalf. This service costs £30 per hour.
  • In-person family history consultations – consultations with the Family Historian at Highland Archive Centre have resumed. This service costs £30 per hour.
  • Remote one-to-one family history consultations – you can also book a virtual consultation with the Family Historian. This service costs £30 per hour.
  • Microfilm readers/microfilm
  • Family History and Archive Libraries
  • Public Access Computers

The above restrictions will be reviewed on a regular basis.


Physical Distancing and Cleaning Measures

Throughout the Building

  • Reduced opening hours and an appointment system allows us to manage the number of people in the building at once.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the building.
  • Screens have been installed at staff desks and staff wear face coverings while moving throughout the building.
  • All seating has been removed from the first-floor landing to reduce shared surfaces.
  • Contactless payments would be the preferred payment method, however we will continue to accept cash for occasions when this is not possible.

In the Family History Centre/Searchroom

  • The Archive Searchroom desks remain set up to ensure at least two metres distance between customers and staff.
  • Customer desks in the Searchroom, including any rests or weights used, will be cleaned between customers – at lunchtime and at the end of the day.
  • Lockers will be cleaned between uses.

Depositing Records

If you wish to discuss depositing records with us, please email [email protected] in the first instance and an Archivist will be in touch to discuss.