Skip Navigation




Keep historical documents in excellent condition.

Salary Range

$37,590 - $69,380

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What does an Archivist do?

An archivist collects, organizes and preserves historic records and information. You deal with information in all forms, including letters, photographs, old videos, audio recordings and electronic records. A lot of different organizations use archivists, and you could find yourself working for the government, a museum, charity, university or even a private individual or family.

No matter where you work, your job it to understand which items are worth preserving and figure out the best way to protect them. To do this you start by looking through the material and decide what has long-term value (i.e. what will people actually care enough about to see again). Preserving things can take a lot of time and money, so you want to pick things worth keeping around.

Good computer skills are necessary in this field, as this job is headed quickly into the digital realm. In the past the records you’d be preserving would be those found on paper, but today people are now trying to find ways to preserve digital memories. Plus preservation techniques have gone digital as well. A great example of this is photography. In the past photographs were only preserved using special types of paper, but now most photographs are simply scanned into databases.

In fact the importance of computers in the profession has become so important that a growing position is that of a digital archivist, or someone who works exclusively using electronic preservation methods.

Was this helpful?YesNo