The former National Archives of Ghana was first located at the former Colonial Secretary’s office, now Ministry of Interior. In an attempt to group together the scattered records of the Colonial Administration, Miss Majorie Harris, a British librarian by profession, was appointed in 1946 to head a separate division to be known as the Archives. Her responsibility was to sort and organise the records scattered all over the country.
Most had been neglected in offices, staircases and storerooms at the old Secretariat Record Room and at Government House. Even though she had to work under very trying conditions and limited resources by way of office space, staff and logistics, she succeeded in bringing some semblance of order to the archives.
Mr. J. M. Akita took over from Miss Harris as government Archivist in November 1946 after having studied abroad. With the promulgation of the Archives Ordinance of 1955 and Regulations of 1958, the stage was set for intensive organisation of the Archives nation-wide.
This took the form of accession, classification and labeling of the non-current records of all the regions at the headquarters at Accra.
The establishment of the Search Section in May 1952 signaled the coming of age of the Archives because this meant that searchers and the general public could consult records and also telephone and postal inquiries could be addressed.
Earlier in May 1952, a document rehabilitation centre to repair and maintain damaged and endangered records had been set up.
In June 1955 the photographic reproduction service was introduced to improve search services. Regional offices were set up, the first in Kumasi and later on in Koforidua, Cape Coast, Sekondi, Ho and Tamale. With the cre
ation of Brong Ahafo region in 1959, the Sunyani office was set up. The offices of the National Archives had to be moved from its temporary site at the Department of National Lotteries and relocated to the present site in 1961. It was formally opened in December 1962.
Since that time there has been steady progress as evidenced in the increased acquisition of both public and private records of distinguished personalities like the first president of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Kwegyir Aggrey, George Blankson and James Bannerman to mention just a few.
This was after a nation-wide appeal to owners of private archives to deposit their papers with the Chief Archivist. The Editorial Section was later set up to provide support for the educational and public relations aspect of archival work. The main acquisitions are the Administrative Records (ADM.) Supreme Court Records (SCT), Newspaper Collection (NP), Ecclesiastical Records (EC), Maps and Plans (MP) and Special Collection (SC).
The latest acquisition is the Ministerial Record Group (RG), which covers the post- independence era. It is interesting to note that a microfilm collection was available as far back as 1969.
The Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) came into existence by Legislative Instrument No. 1628 of 1996. The law (Act 535) defining the functions of the department was passed by Parliament and assented to by the President in August 1997.
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