The Archives' Mission

The Smithsonian Institution Archives serves as the institutional memory of a unique cultural organization. The Archives’ mission is to document the goals and activities of the whole Smithsonian in its pursuit of increasing and diffusing knowledge, and exciting learning in everyone. The Archives is also responsible for ensuring institutional accountability, and for enhancing access to the rich and diverse resources in its care. The mission is carried forward by:

  • Appraising, acquiring, and preserving the records of the Institution and related documentary materials;
  • Offering a range of research and reference services to the public;
  • Establishing policy and providing expert guidance on record keeping practices;
  • Creating and promoting products and services that broaden understanding of the history and culture of the Smithsonian;
  • Providing professional archival and conservation expertise across the institution and to the public.