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American Today


National Archives signs research agreement

By Sally Acharya

 AU students and faculty have long known the National Archives as one of the richest resources in Washington, D.C.—particularly for historians, but also for many other scholars. Now there’s a formal agreement between the National Archives and AU to encourage even more collaboration.

The National Archives and Records Administration signed a five-year agreement in late January to cooperate on teaching and research projects, internships, field studies, exhibitions, and other programs.

"This is arguably the finest archival records in the U.S. It is a treasure trove of information for original research," Provost Scott Bass said. "People from all over the country and all over the world fly in to have that access. To be stationed in such a way as to offer classes or seminars, to talk about the research, and have a formal relationships is a remarkable opportunity."

The history department carved the relationship, but several other deans have expressed interest from their own vantage points, Bass noted. As a repository of government information, film footage from around the world, and other archival treasures, the institution attracts the interest of scholars and students in many fields.

The agreement was spearheaded by history chair Robert Griffith and history professor Richard Breitman. It calls for a series of collaborations:

  • Faculty and archives staff will collaborate on teaching and research projects, and consult with each other on activities on joint interest.
  • Internships, field studies, and other programs will be encouraged so that AU students can work under the direction of archives staff and carry out joint projects.
  • Initiatives will be created to encourage faculty and students to increase their research use of archives holdings.
  • Initiatives will be created to increase digital access to the archives.Public programs will be sponsored together, ranging from exhibits to Web presentations.

The agreement was signed in late January by Bass and National Archives’ assistant archivist Michael Kurtz.