American Archives Month: What’s in an Archives?
Published: October 1, 2017 by Katie Kuryla
It’s American Archives month! The first event will be on October 4, #AskAnArchivistDay on Twitter.
October is upon us, and it starts the American Archives month! This is the month where the archives profession has an opportunity to tell (or remind) people that items that are important to them are being preserved, cataloged, cared for, and made accessible by archivists.
Since 2006, archives have been raising awareness about the value of archives and the archivists who help run them. 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 organization. There are archives that contain the personal papers of famous leaders, authors, scientist, performers, religious and business leaders, social activists, and more. Archives make sure that all important records will be available for research by generations to come.
The largest archives in America is the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The materials in this archives number in the billions! They will be celebrating the month by taking a closer look at all the National Archives around the country. They will be spotlighting other archives to help raise awareness and doing events throughout the month. The first event will be on October 4, #AskAnArchivistDay on Twitter when staff from across the nation, including Presidential Libraries, will be answering questions and talking about what it’s like to be an archivist at the National Archives. You can follow @usnatarchives on Twitter to take part in this discussion.
Whether or not you realize it, you might have an archives in your home. It might be in a filing cabinet in the study, a box in the basement, a chest in the attic, or in a container in the closet. There are similarities between your family’s archives and local, state, or national archives. All save items serve as proof that an event occurred, to explain how something happened, or for financial or sentimental reasons. Your history is our country’s history with letters from relatives, your grandmother’s diary, photos and videos of you and your friends, and other material collected over the years provides vital and unique information about your life or the history of your family. Whether or not members your family attained a degree of fame, they have contributed to the heritage of a certain place and time. When you donate your personal or family papers to an archives, your family history becomes a part of your community’s – America’s – collective memory.
And other types of archives? Your county clerk’s office is the official record keeper for births, marriages, and deaths that occur in your county. College and universities may house a special collection like an author’s manuscript or a scientist’s note. Your church probably houses archives regarding their sermons, events in the church and more.
Archives have an incredible power to expand to a range of people, from journalists to genealogists, to students or stakeholders, to entertain people with their knowledge and show their value to society with their collections.Have you visited an archives in your town? Chances are there’s one nearby that would welcome your visit.
Stay tune for updates on our celebration of American Archives Month as we will be highlighting some archives and preparing you for #askanarchivist day and e-records day.
Society of American Archivists has posted initiatives on the power of collaboration and NARA has posted their Archives Awareness events.