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Rhode Island School of Design

RISD Archives COVID-19 Documentation Page

Information on the RISD Archives' goal to collect material and stories for diversified documentation of RISD's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RISD Archives Mission Statement


The Rhode Island School of Design Archives


The mission of the Rhode Island School of Design Archives and Records Management Program is to collect, preserve, and provide access to records and artifacts which document the history and development of RISD programs, policies, and procedures as well as the contributions of individuals and organizations associated with the School and Museum. By fulfilling this mission, the Archives maintains a unique and valuable resource for understanding and appreciating the significant role that RISD has played in teaching and advancing the disciplines of art, design, and art education--regionally, nationally, and worldwide--since its founding in 1877. 

The Archives is authorized by the President to:

  • survey the records created in support of the administrative and academic functions of the School and the Museum
  • determine the long-term historical, legal, administrative, and research value of these records
  • provide guidelines for their efficient management and ultimate retention or disposition
  • organize, describe, and preserve records deemed to have permanent value
  • make these records available for the research and information needs of the faculty and the administrative and curatorial staff of the School and Museum, as well as scholars and researchers.

All records, regardless of format, created and received in the course of official School and Museum business are the property of the Rhode Island School of Design.* Records which are no longer used on a regular basis by the office or staff member who created them are considered inactive and should be transferred to the Archives.  RISD policy does not permit the unauthorized destruction, donation, removal, or dispersal of School and Museum records.

Among the different types of materials considered official RISD records are: correspondence, memoranda, manuscripts, meeting minutes, reports, grant records, registrar records, personnel, student, and alumni records, course syllabi, records of student organizations, electronic records, photographs, negatives, audio and video tapes, film, architectural drawings, blueprints, scrapbooks, artifacts, and all publications, newsletters, or booklets distributed in the name of RISD.


The Archives also collects personal papers of individuals and records of organizations that were not created as part of the official business of the Rhode Island School of Design, provided these materials:

  • pertain to the history of the School or Museum
  • are relevant to the Museum collections
  • support the RISD curriculum
  • can be properly stored, processed, and made available for research.

Retention schedules for the records of each RISD department will be created and published by the Archives as a component of RISD’s records management policies. It is expected that these guidelines will be followed for the regular transfer of material to the Archives and the proper disposal of nonpermanent records. The retention period for records is determined by their historical, legal, administrative, and research value.

Access to certain documents may be restricted by statute or by the office of origin/donor, with the Archivist’s approval. Any restrictions regarding access to documents or collections in the Archives will be put in writing at the time of transfer. The Archives reserves the right to refuse, transfer, or dispose of records that do not fall within the scope of its collecting mission as well as materials that cannot be cared for properly.

The Archives, established in 1997, is part of the Library, under the supervision of the Dean of Libraries. The Archivist and Digital Archivist make up the Archives staff. 

The Archives has a responsibility to RISD’s records and their creators and maintains a professional commitment to the principle of confidentiality and a respect for the individual’s right to privacy. The Archives collections are maintained in a secure and stable environment and are used under the direct supervision of the Archives staff.  Any questions regarding the importance of records or Archives policies should be directed to the Archivists.

*Some documents accumulated by employees do not qualify as RISD records; these may be considered personal papers, and therefore private property, if they relate solely to an individual’s personal affairs or personal research and do not affect the conduct of School or Museum business.