Each October, Utah celebrates Archives Month as a way to highlight the importance of records of enduring value and to raise public awareness of the role archives play in our daily lives. Archives are collections of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. And Archivists are the professionals who collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to these collections! In Utah, our celebration is sponsored by libraries, museums, special collections, and archival institutions across the state.
“Conversations in the Archives”
We converse in many ways: over text, email, phone, in-person; at the park, in the office, over dinner. We learn about and from each other when we take the time to talk.
What is a conversation in the archives? What is a conversation with your past?
- Think of a letter from a soldier serving in France in World War I, sent to his family on the homefront. What do we learn from records like this? Does the soldier tell his family about his daily life? Does he reminisce about being safe at home or describe what he sees on the battlefield? What about censorship – is he holding back information on his own? Have pieces of his letter been removed before arriving in the mailbox?
- Think of a speech given by a governor to the citizens he serves. What does he tell us? How does he connect? What message is he conveying and what do we take away? Do we get a chance to respond?
- Think of the birth certificate of your great-great grandmother. What do you learn about her parents? Or the doctor or midwife who delivered her?
- Think of the Declaration of Intent to become a United States citizen, signed by your grandfather. What can he tell you about his land of origin? What can you learn from his decision to make this declaration?
What story does the archives tell about your community? What story is missing? Do you feel included in the conversation? We chose this theme because Archives provides a unique opportunity to have a conversation across time. Dive into the records, your records. Let’s talk!
What is Archives Month?
American Archives Month is a collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories around the nation to highlight the importance of records of enduring value.