On November 1st Georgia will become the first state in the nation that does not provide public access to its Archive. According to the press release, “the public will only be allowed to access the building by appointment; however, the number of appointments could be limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees.” Secretary of State Brian Kemp also indicated that “the building will be mothballed…It will have just enough employees there to take care of the critical documents.” If you feel the Georgia State Archive should remain open to the public consider signing this petition.
The Georgia Archives plays a critical role in the work of historians researching slave trade, civil rights, race relations in the south, and women in politics. In addition, the Georgia Archives enables individuals to research their family history and protect their property rights by providing documentation on land boundaries and historic tax records. Finally, the Georgia Archives organizes and preserves documents that help citizens and legislators understand historic issues that related to current political issues such as water rights, marriage laws, and the legislative intent of laws passed in Georgia.
To learn more about this decision from the perspective of the Governor’s Office of Budget and Planning and the Office of the Secretary of State, take a look at WSAV’s post titled Georgia Closes State Archives published September 13, 2012. NPR also ran a story by Jonathan Shapiro titled Georgia to Cut Off Public Access to State Archives that includes additional information about the future of this agency.
If the Georgia State Archives (or any State Archive) have been beneficial to your research, share your experience on the Georgian’s Against Closing the State Archives Facebook page.