The Stewart Bell Jr. Archives is a local history and genealogy center jointly operated by the Handley Regional Library and the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society. Its holdings include a variety of materials documenting the history of the Lower Shenandoah Valley from 1732 to the present, with an emphasis on the City of Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia. Click here to learn more about our collections.
Reopening the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Reading Room
Beginning July 8, 2020, the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Reading Room will reopen to researchers by appointment only. Currently, researchers are limited to a one hour research appointment per day. Researchers should submit appointment requests by calling (540) 662-9041, ext. 17 or by filling out and submitting the webform. Twenty four hours notice in advance of your appointment is appreciated. Once your research request is received and reviewed, a staff member will contact you to arrange an appointment.
Research appointment times are as follows:
Monday to Thursday: 10:15 AM to 11:15 AM, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, 1:15 PM to 2:15 PM, 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 3:45 PM to 4:45 PM, 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Friday: 10:15 AM to 11:15 AM, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, 1:15 PM to 2:15 PM, 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 3:45 PM to 4:45 PM
Saturday: 10:15 AM to 11:15 AM, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, 12:45 PM to 1:45 PM
If you are unable to visit the Archives for your scheduled appointment you may reschedule. The Archives reserves the right to cancel and reschedule research appointments due to staffing limitations or government orders. Please note that because materials will be quarantined after use it is possible that some items may not be available to you during your scheduled appointment time. If you have questions about your visit please call us at 540 662-9041, ext. 17, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For the safety of both staff and patrons, and for the protection of our collections, the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives has updated its policies and procedures for using the Reading Room. The following procedures must be observed when visiting the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives:
- No more than four (4) researchers are permitted in the reading room at any time.
- Facemasks are required and must be worn inside the Library and Reading Room. Researchers should maintain social distancing.
- Researchers are encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water before entering the Reading Room (bathrooms are located outside the Archives). Researchers who have used hand sanitizer must wash their hands with soap and water before handling rare or fragile materials as determined by Archives staff.
- Researchers should bring their own pencils and note paper.
- A photocopier is available and will be cleaned between uses. Black and white copies cost .15c per page and color copies cost .25c per page. We highly recommend researchers use their phone or a camera to make copies of materials to limit use of the copier. Handheld scanners are not permitted.
- Computers and microfiche readers are available and will be cleaned between uses. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own laptops and other equipment, including thumb drives. Material may be saved to a flash drive from the microfilm reader/printer and the photocopier. Researchers may also save photos to a flash drive for $2.00 per image using the Past Perfect Photo Database.
- Please do not come to your appointment if you feel unwell or if you have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. We are happy to reschedule appointments and to assist researchers via email and by telephone.
- These temporary guidelines are in addition to all existing Library and Archives policies.
The following tips are offered to assist researchers prepare for their trip to the Archives:
- The Archives Reading Room is located in the basement of the Handley Library in Winchester, Virginia. The street address is 100 W. Piccadilly Street, Winchester, Virginia 22601.
- Handley Regional Library does not have a designated parking lot. There is metered street parking which is enforced between 9am and 6pm every weekday. Most meters cost .75c per hour and have a two hour time limit. Two parking garages are within walking distance of the library. The Braddock Street Autopark costs $1.00 per hour and the Loudoun Street Autopark costs .50 per hour. Consult the City of Winchester's Parking Authority for more information.
- The Archives is accessible by elevator as well as stairs. Restrooms are available on the same level as the Archives.
- All visitors and researchers should sign the register upon entering the Reading Room.
- A registration form is required of all researchers on their first visit to the Archives each year. You can download, print, and complete the registration form in advance of your visit by clicking here [PDF]
- Food and drinks are not permitted in the Reading Room at any time.
- Lockers are available to researchers. A quarter is required to use the locker and is refunded at the end of the visit.
- The Archives accepts cash or check as payment.
- For information about Winchester City hotels, restaurants, activities and attractions please visit the City of Winchester's website or the Winchester-Frederick County Visitor's Center website.