The Archives undertakes its activities to maintain at Queen’s University an archival resource of national, provincial, and regional significance, to prevent the destruction or loss of culturally important records, and to support teaching, research and outreach at Queen’s University.
A long archival tradition exists at Queen’s University. The first archival document was presented to Queen’s in 1869. Collections were held in the University Library and in 1960, the first Archivist was appointed. By 1981, the Archives had grown to become a separate administrative unit, with some 3,500 metres of holdings. Through the generosity of Mrs. Kathleen Ryan and the Queen’s Quest, the New Medical Building, built in 1907, was renovated and made available for Queen’s Archives in 1981. The present facilities include spacious public areas for consultation and research, a modern conservation lab, an archival records processing area and large storage vaults.
The Archives has continued to expand its holdings over the past decades. Today, the Archives houses approximately 10 kilometres of textual records, 2 million photographs, tens of thousands of architectural plans and drawings, and thousands of sound recordings and moving images.