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Public Memory Meets Archival Memory: The Interpretation of Williamsburg’s Secretary’s Office

Cox, Richard J. (2007) Public Memory Meets Archival Memory: The Interpretation of Williamsburg’s Secretary’s Office. Archives and Social Studies, 1 (1). 13 - 42.

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Abstract

One of the restored buildings in the Colonial Williamsburg historic site is the Secretary’s Office, built in 1747-48, the oldest public records structure in the Englishspeaking colonies. Probably few archivists and other records professionals know that the antecedents of their profession are well represented in such a popular tourist attraction. This essay considers three lessons for archivists in their quest for greater public understanding and support, drawing on how this old public records structure has been interpreted. First, the essay suggests that the story of the Secretary’s Office is not well known by archivists and those interested in the history of efforts to preserve our documentary heritage. Second, the essay recounts the story of the failure by America’s premier and pioneering historic site to interpret fully the legacy of the public records office. Finally, the essay indicates that the lack of interpretation represents alost opportunity to promote public understanding of what records represent, why archives are important, and the work of archivists.


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Details

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cox, Richard J.rjcox@pitt.eduRJCOX
Date: March 2007
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Archives and Social Studies
Volume: 1
Number: 1
Page Range: 13 - 42
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Secretary's, Office, Williamsburg, VA, Colonial, Williamsburg, archival, advocacy, historic, preservation, public, memory
Date Deposited: 27 May 2009 22:56
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2017 05:11
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2695

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