Managing Records: Documentary Heritage Program

What is the Documentary Heritage Program?

The Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) is a statewide program established by law to ensure the survival of New York's documentary heritage by providing financial support and guidance to the not-for-profit organizations that hold, collect and make available the state's historical records.

Who does the DHP serve?

New York State-based not-for-profit organizations including, but not limited to, archives, libraries, historical societies, museums, and other organizations that hold historical records, and collect and make them publicly accessible, may use the DHP's services and apply for DHP Grants.

What are the DHP's priorities?

In order to insure that the DHP addresses the New York State Historical Records Advisory Board’s mandate to identify, survey, collect, and make available historical records that relate to under-documented groups or subjects, the State Archives has identified and given priority to specific topical areas. Many of these records are in serious danger of being lost or neglected, yet they document major change in local communities, the State, and the Nation.

DHP Top Priority Areas include:

  • Economic Change
    New York’s history over the past centuries has encompassed vast and sometimes turbulent changes in the economic life of the state, such as the decline of heavy industry, innovations in agricultural technology and practice, and the explosion of tourism. Economic change, whether in individual towns and cities, regions, or the state as a whole, is one of the defining themes of New York’s history.  
  • Military history
    New York State’s military forces and the state’s military history have had a major impact on New York since the colonial era. Military records shed light on the lives of soldiers, the struggles of the forces, as well as war’s impact on the home front, and offer researchers a unique view of our past.
  • Population groups
    New York’s history has been shaped substantially by the arrival, emergence, and growth of a great diversity of groups united in varying degrees by shared culture, ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, beliefs or values, and experience.  Most groups include both concentrations of individuals in neighborhoods or communities and individuals spread in small clusters throughout the state.  Most will also share and nurture particular ways of life or other cultural expressions that help define the group and shape its contributions to New York’s history.
  • Social reform and activism
    Efforts to achieve or oppose social, economic, cultural, environmental, religious, and political change have been central to New York’s history. Many movements begun in New York, such as those for women’s equality, child labor laws, industrial safety, environmental protection, gay rights, and the Occupy Wall Street, have spread across the nation.

What services does the DHP provide?

  • Coordinating historical records training workshops
  • Working with regional organizations, businesses, ethnic and racial groups, libraries, archives and museums to ensure the identification of, permanent care for, and availability of historical records for previously underdocumented groups and topics particularly in the two priority areas noted above;
  • Raising public awareness of the importance of historical records, especially for underdocumented groups and topics;
  • Working with repositories and organizations regionally to seek local, state, and federal funding for projects to support historical records programming, and
  • Providing advice to historical records repositories to strengthen their programs.
  • Offering competitive grants for projects that address the DHP priorities;
  • Encouraging development of finding aids and access to information about historical records holdings;
  • Developing workshop curricula and publications on historical records techniques and issues;
  • Encouraging coordinated efforts to seek federal and private funding.

For more information, contact:
Archival Advisory Services
New York State Archives
9C71 Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230
518-474-6926
mail: dhs@mail.nysed.gov