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Archives Research Guide

Search the Archives

The Archives of Montgomery County, located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, serves as the institutional memory of the County government, its decisions, and its actions. Holdings date primarily from the 1950s to the early 2000s, though some materials date back as early as 1935. Collections consist of a wide range of materials, including paper records, government publications, photographs, oral history recordings, and maps. The Archives also holds the records of individuals or civic organizations who significantly shaped the County’s affairs and actions through the political process. 


How are the collections organized?

Unlike libraries, which usually arrange their holdings by subject area, archives organize their materials by creator or format. That’s because a single document in an archives may cover a wide range of topics, making subject arrangement impractical. Where possible, archival records remain together in their original order as they were created.

At the Montgomery County Archives, each collection of archival records is assigned to one of 20 record groups, based on the office which created or received the records. Most of the record groups comprise agencies and offices with similar responsibilities. Other record groups consist of records which share a special physical format, such as audiovisual materials or three dimensional objects.

Search the Collections

To aid the researcher, Archives staff have prepared guides, or finding aids, which identify in detail the collections’ contents. Often, these finding aids describe collections at a very specific level; folder or document title, for example. Each finding aid includes such background information as a biography or administrative history, origins of the material, series descriptions, date span, and box inventories which list folders by title. PDFs of finding aids have been scanned with OCR (optical character recognition) and can be word-searched using the “Find” command in your browser.

View Finding Aids