Archival Theory Response

Reading the excerpts from Ridener started me down the path of pondering the importance of thorough archives being kept, not only for the sake of cultural memory, but also for the purposes of academic curiosity. Admittedly I had never considered archival theory to be important before reading these chapters, and to be completely honest I had no idea there even WAS such a thing as archival theory, however in learning a little bit about archival theory, I’ve started to think that I might just be a believer in it. The first pioneers in archival theory in some ways could have been the early European explorers and nobles who saved their most exotic finds in “cabinets of curiosities” instead of melting them down for gold pieces, without understanding the history behind it, I too have amassed my own cabinet of curiosities throughout my travels across the East Coast of the United States, and Canada. Without giving much thought into the importance of my archival, I have nonetheless spent most of my life collecting a small special collection of my own, although admittedly it is comparatively minuscule. The advent of greater technology and its importance in modern archival theory also interested me a great deal, while this did not necessarily SURPRISE me, I was taken aback by the zeal with which archivists seem to have taken to advances in technology, I suppose that’s because in my mind I liken archivists to historians, while in reality the two are quite distinct.


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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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