I visit the National Archives in St Louis in late 2012. I went on a whim to have my Dad's service records pulled (he is deceased and they only sent is DD214 when I sent a request for records). We decided to do this because we went to a military museum in Dwtn St Louis and saw this great brochure saying come visit us! http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/st-louis-gil-2012.pdf
First of all, I was glad I had my military dependent ID. They didn't want to let us even park in the visitor parking lot as we didn't have an appointment, but the Guard saw that and said, well I guess I will let you park. Once we got inside, the place was like Fort Knox. We asked to talked to someone about my request and they wouldn't even let us sit at a table to fill out the paperwork for our request AND you need to request records 4-6 weeks in advance and THEY will call you when you can come view them. You are not allowed in the Archival Research without an appointment, the brochure says walk ins are welcome.
Oh and there is nothing to see... they used to have an "exhibit", but they didn't any longer when we were there.
Lesson learned: If you plan to go, make an appointment, call well in advance and expect to be patted down and treated like a criminal before you walk in the door.
My husband is active duty military and I am use to protocal and procedures in government security, etc... but the people who work here at not the polite in anyway.