Archives for Schools

Archives are primary sources and are a valuable resource that can increase our understanding of events and individuals from the past.

Primary sources are:

  • First person accounts of past events
  • Often unpublished and can provide a fresh perspective on past events
  • Provide local or individual insights into past events
  • Provide information/evidence not available elsewhere
  • Visiting the Archive
  • Archives can be difficult to read and can also be very detailed and specific but they are worth researching in order to get closer to events and people of the past.

    When using archives in a project it is important to give yourself enough time to carry out the research of the records. First start by reading some secondary sources, books written about the event or person you are doing your project on. This will give you some background information that will help when researching the records.

    Once you have done some background research you can then visit your local archive and check through the Finding Aids, these are lists detailing and describing the collections in the Archive Service. From these you identify the records that may have the information you require and you can then request to see these records.

    Remember: archives are original records so take care and follow the advice of the archivist when handling them. You can identify the records used in your project by using the code provided for the records in the Descriptive Lists in the Archive Service. For more information on using archives in schools check out