Sketch in pencil by H Elliott and dated September 1882 of a man named Brown, a champion fish skinner, skinning fish at a bench for Shute & Merchant of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The man faces a window and is holding a knife in his right hand. Additional fish skins are on a table behind the man.

Archives Center Mission

In support of the National Museum of American History's mission and its research initiatives, the Archives Center identifies, acquires, and preserves significant archival records in various media and formats that document America's history and its diverse cultures.

The Center arranges, describes, and makes its collections accessible in support of scholarship, exhibitions, publications, and education. We offer these services in a professionally managed reference center and through on-line databases, finding aids, and other forms of publication. We provide expert advice on accepted archival practices and standards to Smithsonian colleagues, and to scholars and the general public. We strive to define and clarify the role that organized archives play in American culture through educational initiatives.

The Archives Center actively pursues alliances inside and outside the Smithsonian Institution, in recognition of the need for cooperation and, where necessary, financial support.