International Heritage Centre blog

We are archivists

We are archivists

Archive store

We are archivists.

We look after archives (records, photographs, films, objects)

Our job is to decide what to keep and know what to throw away.

Then we organise what is kept, and ensure it’s preserved correctly.

We protect the information amongst our archives, but we also make it available to the world.

At the Salvation Army Heritage Centre, we work as a small team to do this.


Here are a few things we don’t like:

The word memorabilia

Using archives as a verb, as in archiving

Sellotape/Post-it notes/Staples

The mis-understanding that age adds value. Not all ‘old’ things are interesting and lots of them don’t need to be kept.

Things that are sent to us without any sender/information. Records without context don’t mean anything.


Here are a few things we do like:

Original Order

This is when archives have been kept just as they were used, and have not been moved about or split up. It gives the records meaning.

Unique records

We have lots. These are the things we know that only we have, and that have huge historical and research value.


There are lots of them in archives.

Helping people

We answer hundreds of research enquiries, open our collections to the public and have a museum. We like telling people about what we have.


In this blog, we are going to tell you about our perspective on working as archivists and what it involves. We will also tell you about Salvation Army history, how it relates to the wider world, and how our collections help us understand it.

Thanks for reading.


August 2013


Read other blogs from the Heritage Centre

'Patriotism is not enough'

The International Heritage Centre holds a large collection of records produced by the Women's Social Work branch of The Salvation Army. In April 1914 a referral is noted from a Miss Edith Cavell of Brussels ...

'Our Foreign Field': India

One of the strengths of the International Heritage Centre's holdings is its collections of records and published material relating to Salvation Army work in India ...

Booth family papers

William and Catherine Booth had eight children who were all involved in running The Salvation Army and spreading its ideals ...

The Catalogue

Over the past 6 years, we have been cataloguing the archives and books held by the Heritage Centre ...