Friday, May 25, 2007

Public record archives may leave Mohave County

[Source: Jennifer Bartlett, Kingman Daily Miner] -- When the new state archive repository is completed next fall, Mohave County public archives could find a new home. Public record archives currently stored at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts are tentatively set to travel to the new repository at the Arizona State Library in Phoenix, Museum Director Shannon Rossiter said. An early 20th century law requires public records to either be stored by the county government or by the Arizona State Library, according to Melanie Sturgeon, state archives director. Her staff routinely makes visits to the various counties who keep their own archives to ensure they are being kept properly, she said.

On one such visit, she said museum staff said they were aware that they shouldn't technically be keeping the archives and asked if the archives should move once the new building was completed. They are currently discussing the potential move, Sturgeon said. If the archives move, Sturgeon said the State Library would be responsible for the transfer. She explained that when the state archives were first being put together in 1937, officials were horrified to find that permanent records were being disbursed and lost. At that time, the Legislature looked into how records should be used and stored to ensure they would be around for hundreds of years. It created a law whereby only the county where the documents originated and the State Library could authenticate the records. For years, the museum has stored the county archives. While they cannot authenticate the records, the museum has seen that they are stored in ideal conditions to protect them. Volunteers wear cloth gloves to protect papers from body oils. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]