October is Washington Archives Month

Washington’s experiences with difficult times, dating back to its territorial years, and how people overcame them will be the focus of the state’s fourth annual Archives Month this October. Free events are scheduled throughout the state.

“Hard Times: Struggles, Setbacks, and Recovery in Washington” is the theme for the 2010 Archives Month, co-sponsored by the Washington State Archives, a division of the Office of Secretary of State.

To learn more about the State Archives, go to its Web site at http://www.sos.wa.gov/archives/ and explore your family history in the award-winning Digital Archives at http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/ .

Throughout October, the public is invited to explore, free of charge, millions of items through the State Archives and Digital Archives, historical societies, museums, public libraries, and university special collections. The State Archives is a division of the Office of Secretary of State.

“Going back to its territorial days, Washington and its people have shown great resilience in the face of struggles and challenges, and this year’s Archive Month program really captures how Washingtonians used ingenuity and hard work to overcome these tough times,” said Secretary of State Sam Reed.

“Our State Archives play a very important role in preserving our history so future generations can learn about the people, events and stories that make Washington’s past so interesting. Archives literally has a treasure trove of documents and resources that can help anyone explore any aspect of Washington history, including their own,” Reed added.
All 31 days in October are devoted to helping the public appreciate and better understand our legal and historical records, how to preserve them and use them to enrich people’s everyday lives, said State Archivist Jerry Handfield.

“Whether you’re interested in exploring some part of Washington history or your own family’s history, the State Archives can help you with your search,” said Handfield, noting that many history buffs and genealogists use the State Archives extensively. “We have photos, records and documents on so many different subjects, and this year’s Archives Month theme is just a small example of what we have for the public to see for themselves.”

The State Archives is distributing free copies of this year’s Archives Month poster, featuring the “Hard Times” theme. Posters are available in the Office of Secretary of State on the second floor of the Legislative Building in Olympia and at the State Archives Building, 1129 Washington St. SE in Olympia. The posters also can be found in the Regional Archives branches in Bellevue, Bellingham, Cheney and Ellensburg. Supplies are limited.

By visiting the Washington Archives Month Web site at http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Archivesmonth/default.aspx, people can download a PDF of the 2010 poster as well as previous posters. The Web site also features links to free workshops, FAQs, collections of interest and featured photographs.

People are encouraged to attend one of the free events and workshops being held throughout Washington in conjunction with Archives Month.

For more information about Archives Month, contact Benjamin Helle at (360) 586-7320 or benjamin.helle@sos.wa.gov . October was officially designated Washington’s Archives Month by Governor Chris Gregoire.

Archives Month is co-sponsored by Washington State Archives; National Archives and Records Administration, Pacific Alaska Region; and the Washington State Historical Records Advisory Board.

The State Archives houses the original State Constitution and millions of historic items and is the home for the nation’s first Digital Archives (located in Cheney), which has electronically preserved records in an award-winning online database. Follow Digital Archives on Twitter @WADigitArchives .