The Michigan Archival Association was founded in 1958 as an informal group by special collections librarians, university archivists, state records administrators, and historical society members who were meeting at the first statewide Local History Conference. From these humble beginnings, the Michigan Archival Association has evolved into the primary organization devoted to the archival community in Michigan. It is the nation’s oldest state archival association and one of the largest regional organizations of its kind. MAA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007.
The Committee of Michigan Archivists and Librarians, as it was called during the organization’s first decade, met periodically to discuss subjects of common interest and to coordinate cooperative projects furthering scholarship in Michigan history.
In 1970, seeking a more formal structure for the Association, the membership adopted a constitution and bylaws which, as amended, continue to guide the work of the Association today. Dues of $2.00 were assessed for the first time.
MAA has grown steadily, from 50 members in 1971 to a current membership of over 100, but its primary goals — education and cooperation to promote the preservation and use of the state’s historical record — remain the same.
The Michigan Archival Association plays a major role in educating practicing archivists, allied professionals, and the general public through training workshops, publications, annual meetings, and its newsletter, Open Entry, which debuted in 1974.
It published the first in a series of “Occasional Papers,” Records Appraisal, in 1975 and sponsored its first basic archival workshop in 1977. More specialized workshops are offered in conjunction with the Association’s annual meetings.
The Michigan Archival Association has throughout its history fostered cooperative efforts to promote and preserve the state’s cultural heritage, like the 1962 Michigan Newspapers on Microfilm Project and the successful MAA-Michigan Library Association campaign in 1983 to enact the Michigan Archives–Library Theft Law.
In 1996, MAA joined forces with the Michigan State Historical Records Advisory Board to conduct a survey of historical records repositories in Michigan. Information gathered through this survey was compiled in a directory MAA published in 1998.
Often held jointly with other state and regional professional societies and historical agencies, the Association’s annual meetings provide another forum for addressing mutual concerns and forging programmatic partnerships.