University of Minnesota
Immigration History Research Center

Immigration History Research Center's home page.

Virtual Tour of IHRC

Welcome to our virtual tour of the Immigration History Research Center's office suite
within the Elmer L. Andersen Library.

Exterior of Andersen Library | Interior of Andersen Library | Storage Cavern | IHRC Staff & Offices

IHRC Virtual Tour
IHRC is located on the 3rd floor in Suite 311, and our offices overlook the Mississippi River as shown above.
Exterior Photos of Anderson Library
Exterior Photos of Andersen Library. This is the main entrance to the Elmer L. Andersen Library at the foot of the Washington Avenue bridge, near the plaza in front of Willey Hall (on the left). If you're coming to the library from the pedestrian bridge or another building on the West Bank Campus, more than likely you will enter through this door.On the left is the "North Entrance" on the upper, plaza level. There is another entrance on the north side on the lower level. These are the doors you will encounter if you park near the Law School or in the public parking ramp at 7-Corners. Visitors may enter any of these doors during normal hours. For special occasions and meetings you may be directed to a specific entrance as all of the doors are locked on nights and weekends. The photo on the right shows the end of the Washington Avenue pedestrian bridge in the foreground and the library in the background.
Stepped Tower, a 60-foot obelisk of red granite, was designed by Jackie Ferrara, a New York City artist. This sculpture, located in the courtyard, was funded by the University's Public Art on Campus Program. It is the 40th piece in the collection, which was begun in 1992 when a new state law required that one percent of the development cost for all state-funded buildings go to art.
Exterior Photos of Anderson Library
As you enter Andersen Library, you may climb the grand staircase from the atrium level to the 3rd floor, or you may take the public elevator across the atrium. Follow the signs to the Archives Suites, and IHRC is in suite 311 shown on the right above.
Visitors and researchers are greeted in the main reception area. Researchers fill out a researcher information sheet and sign the daily log. Researchers then meet with curatorial staff to discuss their information needs and sources available.
Before entering the reading room, researchers need to place all coats, backpacks, computer cases, umbrellas and other items in the lockers outside the IHRC suite, across from the reading room. These lockers require a $0.25 coin, but it is automatically returned when the key is returned. IHRC researchers share this reading room with researchers from the other special collections on the 3rd floor: the Social Welfare History Archives and the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.
Researchers will find inventories to IHRC's manuscript collections, photocopies of photograph collections (both located in the black filing cabinet in the photo above), and genealogical reference books inside the reading room. The card catalog (on the right) contains information on non-cataloged books, newspaper holdings, and serials holdings. To locate information about manuscript collections and cataloged books, researchers can search the University of Minnesota Library's online catalog. A library computer is available in the reading room.
Each researcher's desk is equipped with an electrical plug-in, so researchers may bring lap-top computers. IHRC's books and manuscripts are stored in a large cavern downstairs. Researchers fill out request slips, and the IHRC curatorial staff retrieve the materials and bring them upstairs to the reading room. Researchers can then take notes or request photocopies. The IHRC staff makes all photocopies. Learn more about patron services. In general, a retrieval trip takes between 10 and 20 minutes, depending upon the number of items asked for. The IHRC staff retrieves materials as they are needed, rather than on a set time schedule.
Storage Cavern
Andersen Library is actually two separate buildings: the office suite on top of the river cliff and the storage cavern below. The photo on the left shows the portal entry into the cavern from its entrance on West River Road. Through the treetops above the portal you can see the office suite building. The photo above shows the area directly behind the yellow cavern doors. There is sufficient space in this area to drive and park semi trucks that make deliveries. Beyond this entryway are two caverns, one for manuscripts and special collections and the other one for the MINITEX library resource sharing group.
As previously mentioned, the IHRC staff will retrieve books and other items from the storage cavern. Books and serials are stored upon many rows of shelving and separated by ethnic group. To maximize storage space, some of the collection is stored in pull-out trays like the serials in the photo on the right. The current library collection takes up nearly 10 rows of shelving.
Manuscript collections are stored in small archives boxes. Each processed collection is assigned a collection number. Researchers can learn more about the contents of specific boxes within specific collections by reading the collection inventory. Most inventories include a folder-level description of the contents. Currently there are nearly 200 processed collections.
Newspapers are stored in large archives boxes. Each box has an ethnic designation and box number. Researchers can request a particular title and date, and the IHRC curators will look up the newspaper's box number and location in a database. Databases are used to keep track of holdings and shelf locations.
Less frequently-used collections, closed collections, duplicate materials, and un- processed collections are stored in the High Bay portion of the cavern. These collections are stored in record center cartons with each box's location recorded in a database. Because of the height of the shelving, IHRC staff uses very tall ladders to retrieve materials. If necessary, a special machine (similar to a 'cherry picker') is used to safely retrieve heavy materials or those out of reach. Map cases store maps and other oversize, flat materials. IHRC shares this storage area with all of the archives and special collections in Andersen Library.
Immigration History Research Center Office Suite
Processing area in the office suite (left) and student work space (right). IHRC Conference Room.