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, and artifacts of history,  can also help raise the consciousness of society. 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, and its artifacts, are not preserved and protected by conscious institutional action supported by individual resolve, then not only may the lessons of  history likely be lost, the societies of today and tomorrow may not recognize the patterns and evidence of  yesterday's mistakes, but now mistakes with with more tragic consequences.

John Erickson, Archivist-Curator
Brainerd Public Schools Archives

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