Archivists: An Overview

The Importance of Archivists: Preserving History for the Future
Archivists play a vital role in preserving history for the future. From museums and libraries to government agencies and businesses, archivists are responsible for maintaining and organizing all types of historical records. Their work ensures that important information is accessible to researchers, historians, and other individuals who seek to understand the past.

What is the Role of an Archivist?

Archivists are professionals who are trained to identify, preserve, and organize materials of historical significance. They work to ensure that these materials are accessible to the public and can be used for research, academic study, and other purposes. Some examples of the types of materials that archivists work with include:

– Historical documents, such as letters, diaries, and manuscripts
– Photographs and other visual materials
– Audio and video recordings
– Maps and other cartographic materials
– Business and organizational records

In addition to organizing and maintaining collections of historical materials, archivists also work to make these materials accessible to the public. They may digitize collections or create finding aids to help researchers locate specific documents or other items.

What Kind of Education or Training is Required to Become an Archivist?

Most archivists have a graduate degree in library science, archival studies, or a related field. Many universities offer master’s degree programs in library science with a concentration in archival studies. These programs typically include courses in archival management, preservation, and database management.

In order to get into the field, it’s important to gain experience working with historical materials. This can include volunteering at a local library or museum, conducting research projects, or interning at an archival institution.

How Do Archivists Progress Between Levels?

Like many professions, archivists may progress between levels based on their experience and expertise. Entry-level archivists may be responsible for basic tasks such as sorting and organizing materials. As they gain more experience, they may move on to more complex tasks, such as designing and implementing archival databases, supervising staff, and advising organizations on preservation and outreach efforts.

Final Thoughts

Archivists play a critical role in preserving history and making it accessible to the public. They bring a passion for history and an understanding of preservation and access to their work. If you have a love of history and a commitment to preserving it for future generations, a career as an archivist may be a fulfilling and rewarding choice.

Archivists: An Overview

Archivists are professionals responsible for preserving and managing historical records and documents. They are tasked with organizing, cataloging, and maintaining these materials to ensure their integrity and accessibility to researchers, scholars, and the general public. Archivists work in a wide range of settings, including government agencies, museums, libraries, historical societies, and universities.

Job Level and Salary Data

The salary data for Archivists indicates that the median income for full-time employees across all levels of the profession is $63,440.00. For those who receive time-based pay, the average salary drops marginally to $61,547.20.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of archivists is projected to increase 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. As organizations require more and more assurance on recordkeeping and protecting fragile materials, archivists with experience in digital records and electronic storage systems will be in high demand.

Effects of unions on Archivists

Unionization in the archival industry is still nascent, though some larger museums and libraries have unionized staff. The effect of unions on the wages of Archivists is to be expected higher wages, better benefits, and a more collegial working environment.

Geographies with the Highest and Lowest Salaries for Archivists

According to the BLS, the metropolitan areas that pay the highest salaries for archivists on average are:

Metropolitan Area Average Salary
New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division $79,470
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division $78,160

For those looking to work in the field but earn less, the metropolitan areas that pay less include Fargo, North Dakota, and Jefferson City, Missouri.

Metropolitan Area Average Salary
Fargo, ND-MN $46,600
Jefferson City, MO $42,740