Since 1980, the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS Archives) has been a repository and a center for research on the history of AFS by scholars, students, and the AFS network.
The permanent collections of the Archives constitute the single largest concentration of documents, photographs, works of art, recordings, and artifacts—all records of AFS history—in the United States. Much of the AFS collection, if lost or destroyed, is irreplaceable. Many items are unique; others collected since 1914 during the two World Wars in the United States, France, Middle East, North Africa, Italy, India and Burma represent information from a date and environment that cannot be duplicated. The AFS Archives has many collections of significance for researchers of the two World Wars, filmmakers, and scholars of the history of volunteer organizations, medical services and educational exchange.
The Archives is dedicated to making available the enduring legacy of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs—the story of the Americans who chose to serve as AFS volunteers in both World Wars and the international exchange programs that grew from their post-war activities. The Archives holds the collections in trust for future generations.
To realize its purpose, the AFS Archives has five goals:
- To function as a vital center for the study of the history of AFS and, as such, to foster a greater knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of AFS values inherent in AFS history.
- To support the critical investigation of its history by scholars and researchers in fields such as history and sociology, and to provide the organization with a platform to discuss and evaluate its history and other dimensions of its work.
- To perpetuate, preserve, and make available AFS’ historical records through cataloging and indexing the contents of the Archives, producing exhibits and other programming, publications, and maintaining an online presence to provide accurate information on the history of the organization.
- To present the collections, related exhibitions, visual installation, and interpretive programming to the general public, students and scholars and to stimulate active and pioneering uses of the collections, especially through collaborations with presenting organizations.
- To reach out to the diverse national and international research community and to educate present and future generations about the impact and continuing relevance of the contributions of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs.