Why Brainerd Public Schools Archives

Tangible artifacts, including documents, letters and photographs — the evidence of history — can open doors to a critical understanding of who we were, who we are and what we may become. Coupling words with real evidence of history can be riveting.

Sir Winston Churchill, Great Britain's Prime Minister during WWII, famously said, "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see." It is not so much that history repeats itself as it is that knowledge of history, including the history of great educational institutions, can assist in individual and collective decision making on matters great and small, improving individual and community life today and tomorrow.

History can also help raise the consciousness of society - with the respect to the educational institutions - of the positive individual and community effects of quality learning experiences. It can call attention to the capacity of students and the community, today, to aspire and achieve success in life because of the accomplishments of others who have gone on before.

The reverse is true, as well. If the experiences of history are not preserved and protected by conscious institutional action supported by individual resolve, then not only are the lessons history can teach lost, but individuals and institutions of today and tomorrow may repeat yesterday's mistakes, but with even more tragic consequences.

John Erickson, Archivist-Curator
Brainerd Public Schools Archives

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