Why we Preserve Records.
Archives are a hallmark of a civilized society. They document human experiences and serve as civilization’s collective memory. Preserved records transmit our cultural heritage from generation to generation. Archives are essential to scholarly inquiry into the past by historians, sociologists, demographers, geographers, and others. “No other type of materials tells us as much about the past as the documents in which the actors of an earlier era recorded their doings, their thoughts, their actions, and their reactions.” Society relies on scholars who use these records to make the past relevant to the present.
Archive has importance for people who never use them. Records protect rights, privileges, and property of individuals by establishing citizenship, ownership of property, eligibility for benefits, and participation in public life. Records enable individuals to trace their family history and to gain the satisfaction that comes from pursuing and understanding their own personal heritage. Historical Records have much the same importance for the community as they do for the individual. They provide a sense of time and place and educate the citizenry about the role of the local community in a larger state and national context.