Services for Historical Records Repositories
What are Historical Records Repositories?
Organizations that hold historical records are wide-ranging. They can be distinct institutions designed for holding historical records, or they may be part of a university, local government, library, museum or historical society. Historical records repositories are also know as archives or manuscript repositories.
Where to get help -- the Documentary Heritage Program
The Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) is a statewide program designed to locate, organize, and make available the state's historical records that are critical to ensuring the survival of New York's documentary heritage.
Any organization that holds historical records and makes them publicly accessible may use the DHP's regional services and apply for a DHP grant. Such organizations include not-for-profit archives, libraries, historical societies, museums, and similar institutions within New York State. The DHP also works with various community organizations to help them ensure that their history is saved for future generations.
Local government historical records repositories are eligible for grants and field services through the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund.
Working in nine Documentary Heritage Program Regions, the regional service providers are responsible for:
Nine regional archivists, working through the 3Rs library systems or through historical service agencies, are responsible for:
- Coordinating historical records training workshops
- Working with regional organizations to ensure the identification of, permanent care for, and availability of historical records for previously underdocumented groups and topics;
- Raising public awareness of the importance of historical records,;
- 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.
The DHP provides grants to not-for-profit organizations in New York State that collect, hold and make available historical records. Funding is available for the documentation of under-represented groups or subjects, arrangement and description of historical records, and archival needs assessment. The application deadline for DHP grants usually is the first working day of February. Learn more about the DHP Topical Priorities and view the most recent DHP application guidelines.
Where to get help -- other funding sources
The New York State Library’s Conservation/Preservation Program provides State funding for libraries and other organizations engaged in efforts to preserve deteriorating library research materials. Administered by the New York State Library's Division of Library Development, the program encourages the proper care and accessibility of research materials, promotes the development of guidelines and use of technical standards for conservation/preservation work, and supports the growth of local and cooperative activities within the context of emerging national preservation program.
Other funding programs in New York State that may be helpful to historical records repositories include:
- Greater Hudson Heritage Network
- New York Council for the Humanities
- New York Landmarks Conservancy
- New York State Council on the Arts
- New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP)
- Preservation League of New York State
Federally funded grant programs that may be helpful to historical records repositories include:
- Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
- National Endowment for the Arts
- National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
- National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)
- National Park Service (NPS)
- National Trust for Historic Preservation
For information on grant programs from private foundations, visit the website of the Foundation Center. An independent nonprofit information clearinghouse, the Center's mission is to foster public understanding of the foundation field by collecting, organizing, analyzing, and disseminating information on foundations, corporate giving, and related subjects.
Training targeted specifically to non-profit historical records repositories is offered through the Documentary Heritage Program regional service providers. Contact the regional service provider for your region to learn more about training they offer.
The State Archives offers a wide variety of workshops targeted to local governments, but open to all those interested in the topics. Workshop titles of interest include:
- Appraisal of Historical Records
- Digitizing Your Historical Photographs
- Disaster Planning & Response
- Introduction to Historical Records
- Managing Electronic Records
- Managing Your Historical Photographs
- Organizing Your Historical Records
- Preservation of Electronic Records
- Preservation of Historical Records
For further information on current offerings, visit the State Archives training site and go to ‘All Workshops by Subject’ then choose ‘Archives.’
The New York State Archives has a number of publications addressing aspects of the management of historical records, including appraisal, needs assessment and documentation. Some of them are available in electronic form only, while others are in print form and can be ordered on-line. View a complete listing of our publications on historical records issues.
October is Archives Month in the State of New York as well as American Archives Month in the United States. Find out how you can celebrate Archives Month and promote your institutions and its activities.
Directories of Historical Records Repositories
Several of the Documentary Heritage Program service providers have directory information on their websites including:
- Directory of Repositories located in the Capital District of New York State.
- Guide to Local History and Archives Collections in the Genesee Valley.
- Heritage Navigator, an interactive map of the Hudson Valley which showcases items from local archival collections.
- Historical Newspapers of Northern New York provides indexed access to selected newspapers from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties.
- Historical Newspapers of the Rochester Region provides indexed access to selected newspapers from Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Wayne and Wyoming counties.
- New York Heritage provides access to more than 160 distinct digital collections representing a broad range of historical, scholarly, and cultural materials held in libraries, museums, and archives throughout the state.
- Word on Women, a directory of historical records collections documenting the history of women in New York State