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Virginia Archives Month October 2008

Archives Month in Virginia celebrates those individuals and institutions that help preserve and make accessible the important records of our actions as citizens, as businesses, as religious groups, as governments, and as a society. The work of these institutions and individuals gives us a sense of being part of a larger picture and helps us begin to see ourselves connected to others—whether to family, community, or nation or to a group defined by ethnicity, religion, work, or play.

Since 2002, the Library of Virginia, in conjunction with the Virginia Caucus of the Mid–Atlantic Regional Archives Conference and the Library of Virginia Foundation, has produced a poster commemorating the commonwealth's archival and special collections repositories and the rich, cultural record they protect. Cultural heritage repositories from across the state have contributed to the Archives Month celebration by hosting events and sharing images for inclusion on the poster and related Web site (www.lva.virginia.gov/archivesmonth).

This year marks the second annual statewide celebration of Virginia Archives Month. The effort to promote the importance of archives and archivists from Archives Week to Archives Month has been spearheaded by the Society of American Archivists. Again, the Library of Virginia, in conjunction with the Virginia Caucus of the Mid–Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) and the Library of Virginia Foundation, has produced a poster commemorating the Commonwealth's archival and special collections repositories and the rich cultural record they protect.

This year's theme, "Preserving the Past, Shaping the Future: The Archival Footprint on Society," explores how archives and archivists shape our understanding of ourselves by collecting and preserving records of changing social attitudes, from the American Revolution to the age of the Internet. Researchers often use evidence found in archives to question contemporary perceptions about the past. On many occasions, researchers have made use of archival records to document injustice and help bring about change. Archivists can serve as catalysts by publicizing collections with particular social, contemporary, or historical significance. Years after the fact, archival records can be used by journalists, historians, and activists to help bring publicity or even legal resolution to social issues long forgotten or ignored. Researchers delving into archival records must be prepared to allow their perceptions about the past to evolve.

In celebration of Archives Month 2008, there will be an Archives Fair at the Virginia Historical Society, three free noontime talks at the Library of Virginia, a film screening and discussion at Hollins University, and exhibits at the Library of Virginia, the College of William and Mary and Old Dominion University. Detailed information about these programs may be found by going to our events page. Please join us at these events as we celebrate all Virginians—and the importance of archives in our lives.

The poster would not have been complete without the contribution of images from institutions across the state, including James Madison University, Roanoke Public Libraries, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Library of Virginia, University of Mary Washington, University of Virginia Law Library, University of Virginia–Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries, Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Union University.

Special thanks to the Library of Virginia and the Library of Virginia Foundation, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, Friends of the Virginia State Archives, History Museum of Southwest Virginia, Hollins University, Roanoke College, Roanoke Public Libraries, VCU Libraries, Virginia Historical Society, Friends of the Virginia State Archives and the Virginia State Historical Records Advisory Board for their generous support for Archives Month programming.