What we do: The New York Archives Conference is an organization that once a year brings together archivists, manuscript curators, local historians and local government record keepers to discuss issues of mutual concern to professional holders of historical records. Our annual meetings move back and forth and more recently up and down New York State in an attempt to provide ongoing professional education to records holders with limited or no travel budgets. We hold our meetings on college and university campuses to hold costs to a minimum. It is an ideal organization for individuals new to the profession to learn from colleagues and to become involved in professional activities. Since 2007, we have provided scholarships to allow those new to the profession to attend our meetings.
New York Archives Conference History and Profile, 1969-Present
The New York Archives Conference (NYAC) is the direct successor to the Lake Ontario Archive Conference (LOAC) created in 1975. LOAC was the successor to the New York State Manuscript Curators, 1970-75, and the 1969 Manuscript Curators’ Conference. The initial meeting in 1969 was held in Cooperstown and sponsored by New York State Historical Association in cooperation with Cornell and Syracuse Universities.
The purpose of the organization then and now was/is to provide archival education at an annual meeting where information could be formally and informally exchanged. Organizational membership includes employees of New York archives, historical records repositories and museums and persons interested in archives. To accomplish that goal the organization, which originally included members from the Province of Ontario, Canada, held yearly meetings moving back and forth across Upstate New York, occasionally holding meetings in Ontario. In the early years meetings were very informal and often had no set program. With the founding of the Archives Association of Ontario as a separate organization in 1993, Canadian membership declined drastically. Attendance at the annual meetings has varied from seventy-five to one hundred and twenty-five persons. The membership in the organization is two hundred persons and growing. To encourage the widest attendance possible, annual meetings have traditionally been low cost events held on college/university campuses with attendees staying in dormitories. To encourage archival students and individuals working in small repositories to attend the NYAC Annual Conferences, NYAC has awarded scholarships to attend annual conferences since 2007.
In the early 1990s the membership of the LOAC decided to adopt a more formal organizational structure. At the June 6, 1992 Annual Meeting the organization adopted a constitution and bylaws and formally applied for incorporation by The University of the State of New York. Incorporation as the Lake Ontario Archives Conference was granted by the Board of Regents at their meeting of July 24, 1992. The Certificate of Incorporation specifically stated that the organization was to serve Central and Western New York, but from the start archivists from Albany have played a role in the organization, and a number of annual meetings were held in the Greater Capital District. Shortly after 2000 members of the LOAC Board decided to expand the mission of the organization to include all of Upstate New York. Beginning in 2001 the name of the annual conference was changed to the Upstate New York Archives Conference, still sponsored by the LOAC.
At the June 2003 annual conference, in an effort to further broaden the reach of the organization to the whole of New York State, the membership voted to officially change the name of the organization to the New York Archives Conference, and that name change was formally recognized by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York at their meeting of May 18, 2004. To reach Downstate archivists, since 2004, NYAC has held two annual meetings in Poughkeepsie. The latest, June 2010, was held in conjunction with the Archivists’ Round Table of New York City. The Amended Certificate of Incorporation approved by the Regents in 2004 restated the organization’s mission, now state-wide, “To support and promote the education and professional discourse of members of the archival profession and users or supporters of archives residing in New York State.” Reflecting our service to the state as a whole, annual meetings since then have been held in Rochester (2004), Albany (in conjunction with MARAC, 2005), Poughkeepsie (2006), Buffalo (2007), Potsdam (2008), Syracuse (2009). Our 2011 annual meeting is scheduled for Saratoga Springs.
The organization’s constitution and bylaws, original certificate of incorporation in 1992, and amended certificate of incorporation in 2004, copies of its annual meeting programs from 1997 to the present, and meeting locations from 1969-present can be found
Submitted by Geoffrey P. Williams, NYAC Co-chair, rev. Dec. 6, 2010