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What are College Archives?

Introduction to our College Archives and how to access them

St. Olaf College Archives

The College Archives was established in 1969 as a repository of historical materials relating to the founding and growth of the institution. We provide access to our collections by effectively describing, processing and preserving materials; and by using new technologies to expose them to our community. We actively collect the history of St. Olaf College, representing the many diverse voices (including yours!) in our community. We protect and preserve our unique collections while making them accessible to our community and scholars worldwide. As stewards of St. Olaf’s institutional memory, we ensure the vitality of our cultural and intellectual history by adhering to national and international standards in our work. We create meaningful opportunities for teaching, learning, research, and training by collaborating with library and IT staff, academic departments, the DiSCO, and other partner

Unlike libraries, the stacks in an archive are not open for browsing. Instead, the many thousands of linear feet of boxes and files filled with letters, documents, photographs, recordings, textiles, and objects are kept in a climate controlled, secure vault. Researchers can develop a sense of the collections by searching archival finding aids. We are in the process of describing our rich collections. Researchers now have access to those finding aids in our new archival management system, FRAM, or by contacting us at with your inquiry. Within 24-48 hours, a member of our staff will reach back and help set up a time for you to come in and work with the materials.

What are archives?