There are also some institutions that have interesting WWI subchaser materials, but that make it difficult or impossible for researchers to access the collections. These tend to fall into two general categories: 

Gate Keepers erect barriers to entry, and charge you to get past each one. The object is to empty your pockets as you wend your way toward your desired destination. 

Smaug's hoard of treasures collected over the ages (a literary reference to The Hobbit) is stashed in a deep, dark cavern, guarded by a greedy old dragon that doesn't want anyone to take his things. These entities to make it hard and expensive to get at their holdings. 

The historian in me sees this type of archive as fundamentally at odds with the concept of historical preservation and research. What good is a collection if nobody can make any use of it? Isn't that a good way to hasten the disappearance of interest in the subject and thus put an end to the relevance of the archive?


  • Tell the collection managers at these institutions that their policies are antithetical to the study of history and the preservation of historical artifacts.
  • Don't support these institutions. Send donations to other institutions instead, ones that support historical research.
  • Don't bequeath your personal collections to these institutions. Find an archive with good policies, where your materials will be cared for without being locked away and rendered useless.

I had a list of some examples, but it was old enough that I couldn't say if those institutions still had the same policies and attitudes, so I removed the list. General suggestion is to investigate any and all archives that you plan to donate things to, and make sure you won't putting the materials behind gatekeepers or adding them to Smaug's hoard.