Repository Profile - Citi Center for Culture

Citi Center for Culture: Using the Past to Define our Future
Shira Bistricer, Assistant Archivist

Based in New York City, the Citi Center for Culture was formed in 2009 as a knowledge center for Citi's history and culture. Founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, a local merchant bank, today Citi is a global bank with a philosophy of “progress informed by the past and inspired by the future.” As the custodian of Citi’s corporate archive, the Center for Culture supports this vision by preserving the bank’s records and connecting the past to the present. We provide access to the bank’s past and recent history to Citi’s 250,000 employees located in over 100 countries across over 17,000 lines of business. The Center, a corporate function, includes Heritage Services – an integrated team of The Winthrop Group and Citi archivists who manage Citi’s archive or Heritage Collection – and the Department of Fine Art, which manages the bank’s art collection.

A display of items from the Heritage Collection for a client meeting, including certified copies of the bank’s Articles of Association that were sent to the Consulate General of the Republic of China for authority to operate bank branches in China.

The Heritage Collection captures the work Citi does, its corporate culture, and the daily lives of its employees. It spans Citi’s entire history, through items such as the first minute book from 1812 to our most recent acquisition, a Citi bandana distributed at a May 2016 Citi-sponsored fundraising run. The collection includes items typically created through the course of business: minutes, speeches, correspondence, annual reports, press releases, bank publications, project files, photographs, advertisements, electronic files, and a/v material as well as unexpected items like a Citibank board game, corporate seals, ties, fine china, stamp embossers, pins, and currency.  One beloved asset is the vividly illustrated Number 8, the bank’s employee magazine from 1905 to 1965, which is a window into the bank’s business activities and social history.


Citibank Worldwide Board Game, 1965.
Of similar architecture to Monopoly, this game was intended to teach bank employees and clients the value of bank services. The Center for Culture currently has two of the original 5,000 games which were distributed among employees, clients, and the public.

The Center’s mission is to use its collections to leverage Citi's 200-plus years of rich heritage into a business advantage. Soon after its establishment, the Center utilized its collections to support the celebration of Citi’s 200th Anniversary in 2012 and developed lasting remembrances including an illustrated history book and a digital timeline.  First introduced to mark the anniversary, our history image panels, which combine short stories with images to tell Citi’s story at glance, are now displayed in Citi offices across the world. Building on the exposure the anniversary brought, the Center works closely with key corporate functions including the Alumni Network, Branding, Communications, Compliance, Finance, Legal, Marketing and Strategy, and their outside consultants. The Center’s Heritage Collection is used by our clients to inform current business efforts and as a resource for images, speeches, informational brochures, timelines, press queries, videos, gifts, and employee engagement. Heritage Services and Fine Art frequently collaborate to create exhibits, event displays, and office décor, including at Citi’s new global headquarters in Tribeca. We also post regularly to “Citi Collaborate”, our internal social media platform, and open the archive up for tours. The Center recently launched an updated Citi Heritage Timeline that brings Citi’s history to life through essays, photographs, and videos exclusively for Citi employees. As the bank enters its third century, the Center continues to help Citi use its past to define its future.


First developed in 2012 as part of Citi’s 200th anniversary, the Timeline brings Citi’s history to life through a collection of essays, photographs, and videos. We recently launched an updated Timeline, with a new user interface, stories from the past few years, and optimized for both desktop and mobile viewing, for Citi employees.


Note:  Repository Profilies are provided by the organization.  The Business Archives Section will update as notified by the organization.  Accordingly, information may not be accurate.  Individuals should contact the organization before using or citing information.

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