Every October, archives across the United States celebrate Archives Month. This year, the State Archives of Florida is focusing on how archives change lives. Join us throughout the month as we share stories about the impact the Archives has had on staff and patrons like you!
Meet Braeden Belcher, a historian at Florida State University who is using the State Archives of Florida as a resource for his master’s thesis. Originally from Brighton, Michigan, Braeden is a student in the FSU Historical Administration and Public History Program and “hope[s] to one day work in a museum!”
Belcher brought some archival experience with him on his research trip to the State Archives. While in college, he worked as a research assistant in his university’s archives. In this capacity, he was in charge of researching and developing displays that highlighted the archives’ collection and, according to Braeden, he “loved it!”
Braeden’s master’s thesis explores how Floridians celebrated the 200th anniversary of the American Revolution in 1976. Braeden is using the records of the Bicentennial Commission of Florida (Series 787), which was the group responsible for planning bicentennial celebrations and activities throughout the state in the 1970s. These archival records are helping Braeden “get a picture of how Floridians were planning for America’s 200th birthday, and what being an American meant to them.”
To plan his research trip, Braeden made frequent use of our online catalog and the Florida Memory website, as well as consulting archives staff in the research room. “The finding aids available online have a lot of useful information about the collections, but the staff is always willing to help me if I have extra questions,” he says.
Through consulting the archives’ catalog, website, and staff, Braeden acquired the materials he needed for his research project. He also has this advice for potential researchers: “Make sure you have a general idea of which documents you want to look at, the more information you can give to the staff the better! They will always be able to help you out and answer any questions you have, so feel free to ask!”
If you’re conducting research at the State Archives of Florida, remember that the reference staff is always available to answer questions and to help point you in the right direction. The Archives reference room is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.