Every community has a history, whether it is an historic building, a fraternal organization, or a temporary work camp. Sound archival research is the basis for most history projects. Documents in an archive may trace the history of a home to several generations of the same family or a congregation, or they may tell the story of recent arrivals. Many historically significant collections are still to be found in boxes and files in the community. The organization and preservation of personal collections as well as the records of community organizations may be valuable resources for planners, historians, natural and cultural resources managers and family members.


A community’s story is documented in a variety of formal and informal records. Records today come in all forms: paper, digital files, audio and video recordings, photographs, prints, oral histories, and many other formats used for recording and sharing information. Records that are essential to the identity of a community and the overall preservation of its culture and history should be preserved and made available for future generations.


Valuable information may be contained in personal collections, oral histories, church, business, and association records that are not held by any archival repository or museum. Archives provide information that helps to locate people and places within the context of a larger American history and preserve documentation that can shape the future.


Our staff can assist in planning, organizing and processing collections; advise on a suitable repository or museum; and provide technical assistance in the development of community-based archives as well as collections retained as personal or organizational records.