An opportunity to raise awareness about the value of archives and archivists.
American Archives Month is a time to focus on the importance of records of enduring value and to enhance public recognition for the people and programs that are responsible for maintaining our communities’ vital historical records.
In honor of American Archives Month, THS Archive Director Kathy McLeister will be posting periodically with information about archives, archival terms, and highlights from the THS collections.
What is an archives?
An archives is a place where people go to find information. But rather than gathering information from books as you would in a library, people who do research in archives often gather firsthand facts, data, and evidence from letters, reports, notes, memos, photographs, audio and video recordings, and other primary sources.
Archives come in all shapes and sizes. There are national archives, state archives, city archives, community archives, business archives, church archives, and more. There are archives for different types of government records, and also archives that contain the personal records of people and organizations.
Archives – and the professional archivists who work in them – make sure that all important records will be available for research by generations to come. To help preserve material, archivists in all types of repositories store archived records in acid-free folders within acid-free boxes that are placed in dark spaces with consistent temperature and humidity.
Why are archives and archivists important?
Archivists bring the past to the present. They’re records collectors and protectors, keepers of memory. They organize unique, historical materials, making them available for current and future research.
An archives serves to strengthen collective memory by creating a reliable information bank that provides access to an irreplaceable asset – an organization’s, government’s, or society’s primary sources.