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Conceiving local archival institutions: a study of the development of archival programs in Richmond and Delta, British Columbia Chong, Bernice W.

Abstract

This essay tries to determine how two municipal archival programs develop from their origins as collections of historical documents in museums, and whether they fit into the larger pattern of archival development found in Canadian federal and provincial public archives, which is identified as "total archives". To provide some context for the two case studies, the essay first examines the main features of the Canadian tradition of "total archives" and tries to locate Canadian archives in the context of the worldwide evolution of modern archival institutions. The essay then explores the development of municipal archival programs in Delta and Richmond, British Columbia to reveal how they were conceived, advanced and sustained. The study concludes that local archival programs do fit into the Canadian tradition of "total archives", however, a conceptual framework which includes both the cultural and administrative purposes of archival institutions appears to be lacking. The conclusion summarizes some of the aspects of a conceptual framework including: the nature of archives, the legal status of public records and the need for archival legislation, the administrative role of an archival program, the need for a commitment of adequate resources, and the need for local governments to recognize their duty to preserve and make accessible public records of continuing value.

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