About the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board
The Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board (WHRAB) was created in 1977 by executive order to assist state, local and private endeavors in the preservation of all types of historical records. It is one of 55 organizations in the states and territories of the U.S., which act in affiliation with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the purpose of preserving, publishing, and promoting the use of documentary sources relating to the history of the United States. The Board's 10 members are appointed by the governor and represent historical records creators, keepers, and users.
The Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board (WHRAB) promotes the availability and use of records with historical value as keys to the state's cultural heritage. It leads collaborative efforts to preserve records and increase their accessibility by promoting education about archives and best archival practices and by helping Wisconsin organizations obtain federal grant funding. WHRAB advises the Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Governor of Wisconsin on all matters concerning the state’s historical records.
The people of Wisconsin will benefit from a deeper understanding of their heritage through preserved and accessible records that document their diverse and rich history. Acting on their behalf, the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board will serve as the nucleus of a coalition of Wisconsin's historical records organizations, playing the role of educator, advocate, promoter, planner, and coordinator. The Board will aid these constituents directly through federal grant funding and will provide a meeting ground for all of them, fostering common agendas and goals.
The Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board (WHRAB). The Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board meets three times a year to review new NHPRC grant applications and coordinate statewide historical records concerns.
The Board's activity falls primarily into three areas.
Provide guidance and assistance to archives and records management programs in Wisconsin
- Guide, assist and promote best practices for the Wisconsin Association of Public Librarians, the Registers in Probate Association, and the Wisconsin Council for Local History.
- Provide a mentoring service, the Wisconsin Archives Mentoring Service (WAMS), to assist organizations that keep historical records but have no professional archivists on staff to manage them. The service brings volunteer professional archivists to under staffed historical records repositories.
Bring federal grant funds to Wisconsin for improving access and preservation of historical records
WHRAB works with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grants arm of the National Archives and Records Administration. Since 1976, WHRAB has helped bring over $2.7 million dollars in NHPRC funds to 19 Wisconsin organizations. These grants have helped Wisconsin:
- Develop records management programs for local governments
- Coordinate collection and accessioning projects
- Preserve photographic and film collections
- Develop electronic records standards
- Sponsor workshops and conferences on archival issues
Promote the value of historical records as keys to our cultural heritage
The Board began its Archives Month program in 1998 to heighten public appreciation of the role that historical records play in our lives. The Board's annual Governors Archives Award also promotes the value of Wisconsin's historical records by recognizing outstanding archival work.
WHRAB Board Members
- Menzi Behrnd-Klodt, Madison
- Clayborn Benson, Milwaukee
- Matt Blessing, Madison (Deputy Coordinator)
- Jane Schetter, Wrightstown
- Anita T. Doering, La Crosse
- Rick Pifer, Madison
- Ken Wirth, Milwaukee
- Michelle Sweetser, Milwaukee
- Maria Escalante, Keshena
WHRAB Historic Records Collection Guides
Creating a Collection Development Policy (Historical Records) (PDF, 120 KB)
Creating a Collection Development Policy (Public Libraries) (PDF, 123 KB)
Everything You Wanted to Know About Records Storage Environment (PDF, 260 KB)
2012-2016 WHRAB Strategic Plan
WHRAB Travel and Conference Scholarship
For more information please contact State Archivist and WHRAB Deputy Coordinator, Matt Blessing, by phone at 608-264-6480 or by email below: