”No people can be deemed masters of their own history until their public records, gathered, cared for, and rendered accessible to the investigator, have been systematically studied and the importance of their contents determined.” — Charles M. Andrews, Historian
Saturday, October 1, marked the official beginning of Archives Month, a nationwide celebration recognizing the critical role that archives and archivists play in preserving the documentary history of the nation.
Since 2002, Virginia has celebrated those institutions and individuals in the commonwealth that help preserve and make accessible the important records of our actions as citizens, businesses, religious groups, government, and society. The work of these repositories and individuals give us a sense of being part of a larger picture and helps us begin to see ourselves connected to others — family, community, nation or a group defined by ethnicity, religion, work or play. The result is a sense of belonging, direction and meaning. Far from focusing only on past accomplishments, those who care for our archives and special collections help provide us with a foundation for discussing the things that matter most in our communities today.
Archives Month is a collaborative project of the Library of Virginia, in conjunction with the Virginia State Historical Records Advisory Board, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference.
This year’s Archives Month theme is “Celebrating Advocacy for Archives” and is reflected in the 2011 Virginia Archives Month poster, which contains images from archival repositories around the state. In addition, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has issued a proclamation that recognizes the value of the state’s archives and archivists. The certificate recognizes October 2011 as “Virginia Archives Month.” There are many activities planned both at the Library of Virginia and at institutions around the state to celebrate and recognize Virginia’s archives and archivists. A full listing of these can be found on the Archives Month webpage.
During Archives Month in Virginia, take time to learn more about your local archival institutions and encourage others to recognize their contribution to the quality of life in our communities. Also, be sure to take a moment this month to thank an archivist for all the important work they do each day to preserve the history of the Commonwealth.
Let the celebration begin!
-Carl Childs, Local Records Director