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what's an archivist

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What's An Archivist?

An archivist can preserve the
photo and the Ferris wheel

FamilyArchives.com works with professional archivists and museum experts to develop all of the information available on this site. So, what exactly is an archivist?

An archivist is a keeper of archival records. Their job is to select, preserve and organize records in accordance with accepted standards and practices and to ensure the long-term preservation of collections. They also assist researchers, and plan and direct exhibits, publications, and other programs and enlist support for archival projects.

An archive is a collection of records of individuals, groups, institutions or governments. Although an archive can comprise many types of materials, some of the most common are photographs, films, videos, letters, diaries and manuscripts.

Archival records are the products of everyday activity. Authors and journalists use archival records to acquire a feel for the people and times they're writing about. Historians, researchers and genealogists rely on archival records to analyze past events and reconstruct family histories. Businesses use archival records to improve their public relations and promote new products.

Archival repositories, places where archives are stored, are as diverse as the institutions and people they serve. They range from large, well-funded operations to tiny organizations with limited activities dependent upon a part-time volunteer staff. Archives exist anywhere it's important to retain the records of people or organizations. Some places you can find archives are:

  • Federal, state and local government organizations

  • Schools, colleges and universities

  • Religious institutions

  • Hospitals and community organizations

  • Businesses

  • Labor unions

  • Museums, libraries and historical societies

Become An Archivist

Want To Learn More?

The Society of American Archivists

If you're interested in learning more about the archival profession visit the Society of American Archivists' website. Founded in 1936, they're the oldest and largest association of professional archivists in North America.

SAA’s mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of more than 5,000 individual and institutional members, and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation and use of historical records.

FamilyArchives.com is a corporate member of the Society of American Archivists. They’re an integral part of our initiative to help promote awareness of the archival profession, relevant educational programs, and networking opportunities for people who want to pursue their passion for preserving history. If you want to learn more, visit SAA today!