Museum Archives Section

Welcome to the Society of American Archivists Museum Archives Section website. The over 1300 individual members of the Museum Archives Section represent museums as diverse as large repositories such as the Smithsonian Institution and the J. Paul Getty Trust and smaller institutions such as the Shelburne Museum and Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site. As museum archivists, we are responsible for the organization and care of archival materials held and/or created by our institutions. Museum archives contain typical archival material such as manuscripts, photography, large scale drawings and maps, film, audio tape, and digital files.

2020/2021 Elections Notice

Museum Archives Section members,

We want to take this moment to appreciate all those working in or supporting museums and museum archives. As we go into the next election year, your input and voices are more important than ever. During these unsettling times, the Museum Archives Section (MAS) like other sections have found it difficult to find new nominees for its 2020/2021 elections. After multiple public notices and personal reach-outs, MAS received no new nominations. In order to keep all positions of the MAS steering committee filled, the current leadership reviewed its options and finding the benefit of having consistency and stability through these turbulent times, those in positions up for election have been nominated to reprieve their current position as allowed under our current standing rules. The MAS steering committee agreed to a one-time allowance of the current Chair to be nominated to a second term of Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, serving 2020/2021 as Vice Chair to the upcoming Chair. The Secretary and Web Liaison have been nominated to serve second terms. Having completed his first year as Vice Chair, Sharad Shah will continue on as Chair and Cate Peebles will continue her two-year term as Newsletter Editor.

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Katrina O'Brien
Recording Secretary: Tara Laver
Web Liaison: Shannon Yule Morelli

For leadership bios, visit

To complete the 2020 MAS survey, visit - we will be sharing these findings during the 2020 Annual Meeting in August. We have updated the survey to include questions regarding response to COVID19 so please feel free to complete again if you had already done so prior to the update.

Museum Archivist Newsletter

Museum Archivists, please take moment to read through the latest issue of our newsletter! While you’re at it, be sure to respond to a survey that hopes to capture current trends in our field.

This issue introduces you to two new Section Officers, including Chair-Elect/ Chair, Sharad Shah, and Standards Committee Liaison, Emily Toder; you’ll learn about the iconic Pittsburgh amusement park, Kennywood Park, whose corporate archives are now being processed at the Senator John Heinz History Center, Louis H. Draper’s archive at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, an unearthed time capsule at the University of Portland; and you’ll find out about an exciting discovery made at the Joseph Cornell Study Center. 

The issue also includes news about recently completed projects by our colleagues at the Met, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Museum of Flight, and many more! 

Museum Archives Standards and Best Practices Working Group

2019 Annual Symposium: "Updates from the Floor"

The Museum Archives Section's Standards and Best Practices Working Group held its annual symposium at the SAA Annual Meeting in Austin on August 3rd, 2019. The symposium formalized the “Updates from the Floor” portion of the Section meeting and focused on projects currently underway or recently completed in museum archives. The symposium provided a forum for sharing pilots, in-progress projects, and recently completed projects, initiatives, and activities at our repositories with our colleagues, and offered an opportunity for sharing ideas and assessing the current state of the museum archives field.

Please click here for full schedule

Please click here to access the recording 

Recent News & Announcements

Please review candidate statements for the 2019 Museum Archives Section election. You will be voting for one Chair-elect/Chair and one Newsletter Editor.
The Museum Archivist is seeking contributions for the upcoming Summer issue coming out in July, before the annual meeting. Our last issue was filled with lots of great stories, unveilings, essays, updates, and news. Whether you have in the past or for the first time, please consider submitting to the upcoming newsletter. And don’t forget to include images. The deadline for submissions is Monday, June 30.
A half-day symposium on museum archives “work in progress”
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