Did you miss us? The NHPRC’s Annotation blog took a few weeks off in observance of several holidays, but has now returned.
One of the big events of 2015 will be our celebration of the 40th anniversary of the NHPRC’s State Historical Records Advisory Boards (SHRABs). The SHRABs serve as the central advisory bodies for historical records planning and as coordinating bodies to facilitate cooperation among historical records repositories and other information agencies within a state. Board members also provide state-level review for applications submitted to some of the Commission’s grant programs.
At full strength, there are 56 SHRABs; one for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. SHRABs, whose members are usually appointed by the governor, are required to be as broadly representative as possible of the public and private archives, records offices, and research institutions and organizations in the state.
Soon after the first SHRABs were formed in 1975, they became eligible for grant funding in order to expand their work beyond the broad activities listed above. Over the past 40 years, the Commission has awarded the SHRABs well over 500 grants totaling approximately $19,000,000. Some of these grants were small and just provided the funds necessary for the board to meet and plan its activities (what we appropriately referred to as Travel and Meeting Expense grants).
Other grants were considerably larger and provided the funding necessary for SHRABs to undertake major program development projects and regrant programs. These regrant programs, which are still in place in many states, permit the SHRABs to make grants of their own. The Commission awards a block of funding to a SHRAB, and the SHRAB regrants this funding to several institutions in their state. The funds are often used by smaller historical societies, museums, libraries, and colleges to develop archival programs, process their collections, or train their staff members. These regrants are one of the few sources of funding available to many of these smaller institutions.
Over the coming year, I will share stories from the SHRABs that demonstrate the important work that they perform to preserve historical records and make them more accessible to everyone who seeks to use them.