Managing Historic Takoma’s Archives

Historic Takoma is the custodian and steward of various archives of Takoma Park’s history – including maps, newspapers, scrapbooks, images, signs, and the records of various civic organizations. Many are stored in appropriate containers to protect and preserve them, but many more need attention. Many have also been at least partially indexed to allow researchers to better understand what records are available. Historic Takoma’s Archives Project is focusing on four areas.

Historic Takoma Archives Project

The Historic Takoma Archives Project aims to improve access to the archives through:

Protection and preservation

Protection and preservation of Historic Takoma’s archives through storage in appropriate physical containers to maintain the integrity of the materials.

Digitizing documents and photographs to make those materials available to researchers without requiring physical contact that can damage fragile items.

Identification and cataloging

Many of the early materials in the archives have been identified and catalogued, but much remains to be done. Historic Takoma volunteers continue to catalogue the archives to identify sources and content to be able to make archives usable and accessible.

Meanwhile Historic Takoma is evaluating various software and has been working with the University of Maryland College of Information Studies to develop new and better capabilities to manage the archives.


Just as important as the materials from decades ago are contemporary records: family histories, civic organization materials, publications, and images. These are the materials that will help future generations understand life in Takoma in the 20th century and early 21st century.

Historic Takoma welcomes contributions of material that will help tell the story to future generations. For information on donations of materials see below.


Historic Takoma strives to make its archives available to the public and the research community. Through digitizing records and potential partnerships with other organizations Historic Takoma will expand availability to the archives without requiring physical access.

Information on access to the archives can be found on the Using the Historic Takoma Archives page.

Donating Your Personal, Family, and Organizational Records

Many of your personal, family, or organizational records may be of interest to Historic Takoma, providing unique insights into the events and achievements of our community.  We are interested in digital as well as printed collections; and although we are more interested in groups of related materials, we do accept individual items.

If your or your organization are interested in making a donation of materials please contact us at After we receive your inquiry we will follow up to learn more about the donation, including the types of materials, period covered, quantity, subject to determine if it fits within our collection policy. 

Historic Takoma’s Collection Policy

Note that all materials donated to Historic Takoma will become the property of Historic Takoma.

Historic Takoma collects materials of historical and cultural value that provide insight into the rich history and current events in Takoma Park, MD and Takoma, DC.  Restrictions and limitations on acceptance of materials include:

  • Materials with restrictions on access or use will generally not be accepted; in some cases, materials of great research value with clearly stated restrictions of limited duration will be considered.
  • Materials that cannot be reasonably identified with characteristics such as date, location, subject, and source are of limited value and may not be accepted
  • Materials that cannot be stored or preserved within Historic Takoma’s resources will generally not be accepted
  • Non-original hard copy materials (eg photocopies) are discouraged but may be accepted if deemed important and originals are not otherwise available
  • Digital materials are encouraged if accompanied by identifying information such as date, location, subject, and source
  • Materials deemed to be duplicative or otherwise not of lasting historic interest or value will not be accepted
Deed of Gift

Once a donation is accepted a deed of gift will be prepared to document the transfer of ownership to Historic Takoma, Inc. Typically, Historic Takoma, Inc. reserves the right to determine retention, location, cataloging treatment and other considerations related to your donation’s use or disposition.

Processing the Donation

Once accepted Historic Takoma will process the donation so that it is included in the record of the archives. At a minimum an accession record will be created that includes the year, the donor, and any pertinent subject content or use considerations. Further indexing may take place in the future depending on the nature of the materials. Once an accession record is created the materials will be findable through the Accession spreadsheet index.  See Using the Historic Takoma Archives page.

Help with the Archives

Historic Takoma has an ongoing need for volunteers to help manage the Archives. At present the Historic Takoma building and physical archives are closed due to the COVID19 pandemic restrictions. Once we are able to re-open volunteer opportunities include:

Managing the Collections

To make the materials readily available, ensure the integrity of documents, and prepare materials for indexing assistance is needed to arrange boxes, remove paperclips, orient pages, properly store materials in folders, and similar tasks.

Creating Inventories

Many materials that have been donated in recent years have little or no basic inventory or indexing. Assistance is needed to document donors, contents, and other basic information for Archives records.


Documentation and record keeping of the archives requires obtaining further information (such as donors, events, and locations) .

Digitizing Materials

As Historic Takoma proceeds with digitizing key materials assistance will be needed with scanning documents, preparing indexes, and storing the digital files.

To volunteer with any of the archives project please write to