09/25/09 208 W - + 11 - 10 Agency Archives Are History in the Making (Updated)

Here's a great article from Fire Chief magazine from April 2009, on the subject of fire department history. Author Ronny J. Coleman, a California fire service veteran and president of the National Fire Heritage Center, advocates that every fire department should have both a historian and an official archive. He notes that the word "archive" means "the very perishable written or printed documentation that is maintained by a department" and which is entirely different than a firefighters' museum.

Writes Coleman: "An archive preserves primary-source documents that accumulate over the course of an organization's lifetime. A museum usually focuses on the hardware." His excellent editorial expands on these needs, and provides action steps for fire departments. Such as compiling or updating the department's written history, processes to preserve documents after their legal retention requirements have expired, and collecting those memos, letters, photos, and other materials are usually "right in front of the department's own nose, but often [get] tossed away."

The article also includes a sidebar on Archival Tips, and a link to a related article from October 2009, by our own Ken Farmer, called Remember the Past to Protect the Future. Good reading, all.

Bumping back to the top because, ahem, I forgot to include the article link. It’s there now.
Legeros - 09/25/09 - 20:33

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