A guest post by James Kichas.
While the Utah State Archives’ focus is on the management and preservation of government records, there are other forms that the State’s history can take. One of these is artifacts. Whether they are artifacts that help tell the story of a governmental entity, or artifacts given to the people of Utah (often through a chief executive) in trust, artifacts exist and require adequate documentation to ensure their ongoing preservation. Up to this point in time the Utah State Archives has lacked the formal tools, and processes, to effectively document and track the existence of the various artifacts that embody the history of Utah government.
An example of a historic artifact given to Governor Mike Leavitt that is currently on loan by the Archives to SUU.
A review of Utah’s Public Records Management Act (PRMA) provides a mandate for Utah State Archives to perform the function of scheduling and tracking historical artifacts. Section 63A-12-103(10) of PRMA states:
The chief administrative officer of each governmental entity shall:
(10) establish and report to the state archives retention schedules for objects that the governmental entity determines are not defined as a record under Section 63G-2-103, but that have historical or evidentiary value.
Based on this mandate, archivists and records analysts at the Utah State Archives have collaborated on the creation of a general schedule that can be applied to government artifacts. This general schedule reads:
SG 19-1 Artifacts
These artifacts are objects that have special historical significance because of their historic or evidentiary value and their association with the function and activity of a governmental entity. Governmental entities work with the Division of Archives to ensure that these historical objects are properly documented and preserved. (Utah Code 63A-12-103(10)(2016)
Retention: Permanent. May transfer to the Archives.
This schedule is currently open for public comment and will be presented to the State Records Committee (SRC) for review and approval at the next SRC meeting, held on December 8th, 2016.
An artifact given to Governor Mike Leavitt that is currently on loan by the Archives to SUU.
If approved by the SRC, the staff of the Archives will begin crafting internal policy focused on the specific application and use of this general schedule. With a general schedule and clear policy in place, the Utah State Archives will be in a position to both retroactively schedule artifacts that are known to exist, as well as ensure the preservation and protection of the State’s artifactual history in the future.