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Archives Policy

Archives Policy

1. The Heritage Archives project was established by interested alumni, staff, faculty, and students of Rocky Mountain College to acquire, preserve, and illustrate the history and development of Rocky Mountain College, Billings Polytechnic Institute, Intermountain Union College, Montana Wesleyan College, the College of Montana, and Montana Collegiate Institute. 

All title for gifts to the Archives are conveyed to the Heritage Archives.

2. Archives collections are comprised of materials whose primary purpose is for research by alumni, students, and the public. Acceptable material will generally relate to documentation of the history of Rocky Mountain College and will include manuscripts, records, photographic materials, pamphlets and programs, school related publications, publications of alumni yearbooks, and records of organizations and offices on campus.

Literary rights: Unless otherwise restricted by copyright or by the donor and agreed to, in writing, by the archives representative at the time of acquisition, all literary rights are conveyed to the Heritage Archives of Rocky Mountain College. The archives can assume no responsibility for misuse of literary or copyright restrictions by users of unrestricted material beyond normal professional ethics and standards. Material placed in the archives is primarily for research and, unless restricted, will be used for that purpose.

Archives material may on occasion be used in the library, other educational programs, and public or personal review. All use is subject to authorization.

3. Gifts to the archives are considered outright and unrestricted donations to be used in the best interests of the Heritage Archives. Usually, accepted gifts are considered extremely important or the best available at the time acquired. However, no individual or institution can predict nor govern the changing attitudes of future generations, nor guarantee permanency beyond the best available preservation procedures.

It is sometimes impractical to evaluate all material at the time of acquisition. Upon evaluation, some material may be declared expendable. In addition, certain material already in existing collections may become expendable by acquisition of better examples. Expendable material includes surplus, duplicate, non-relevant, or material of deteriorated condition or limited use. Such material will be used in the best interests of the archives and the College, including, but not limited to, sale and exchange programs to acquire other needed materials, loans to schools and other institutions, and disposal if the condition or value so warrants. Any material declared expendable must be approved by the archives representative.

Certain items within the donation may be immediately determined to not be adaptable to the archives collections and policies. Reasons for such determination would include: duplication, lack of space and facilities, or failure to fit the archives areas of acquisition. Those items so deemed (if any) are listed on a separate sheet attached to the back of the receipt. The donor is asked to advise the archives concerning disposition of such items.

4. Heritage Archives cannot appraise donations for tax purposes. For the protection of the donor, it is recommended that such appraisals be done by a qualified disinterested third party.

Regulations for Use of Archives

1. The archive collections and materials are not for circulation. (Exceptions for taking materials out of the archives for specific purposes may be authorized by a committee member only.)

2. All patrons will be required to sign a "Research Materials Request" before they are permitted to use any archival materials. This form will be signed by a member of the committee before materials are used.

3. All reproduction (photocopying, microfilming, or any other reproduction) will be done with committee authorization at patron's expense.

4. There is to be no ink used when working in the archives.

5. Restricted materials usage by patrons will be in accordance with the specific restrictions placed on the items. Restrictions are located at the front of the collection. If there are any doubts about restrictions, a committee member must be consulted.

6. The value and life of archives materials must be preserved with special care by the patron handling manuscripts with care, always keeping them in order, being careful not to mark them, having clean hands, and taking care not to lean on the documents.

7. Tape should not be used on archival material.

8. Patrons will not be permitted to use the oral history tapes – summaries or transcripts are available.

9. Smoking is prohibited in the archive research area.

10. Researchers assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel and literary property rights that may be involved in the use of any document preserved in the archives collection.

11. The Heritage Archives Committee reserves the right to refuse the use of any material and may at any time prohibit the further use of a collection by a research worker. Any and all questions regarding the archives policy or procedures should be directed to the Heritage Archives Committee.

These rules and regulations are not intended to place a burden on the researcher, but instead to protect and preserve the materials for continued use and enjoyment of all Rocky Mountain College patrons in the future.

Rocky Mountain College Heritage Archives

Collection Development Policy and Procedures


The Heritage Archives serves as the final repository for the historical records of Rocky Mountain College and its predecessor schools. Its primary purpose is to document the history of the College and to provide source material for administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and other members of the College community, as well as scholars, authors, and other interested persons who seek to evaluate the impact of the College's activities on Billings, Yellowstone County, and Montana.

Core Mission

The core mission of the Heritage Archives is as follows:

  • To collect, preserve, describe, organize, and make available records of historical, legal, fiscal, and/or administrative value to Rocky Mountain College*.
  • To provide adequate facilities for the retention and preservation of such records.
  • To provide information services that will assist the operation of the College.
  • To serve research and scholarship by making available and encouraging the use of its collections by members of the College and the community at large.
  • To promote knowledge and understanding of the origins, aims, programs, and goals of the College and of the development of these aims, goals, and programs.
  • To facilitate efficient records management within the College offices.

*Rocky Mountain College refers to Rocky Mountain College and its predecessor schools, including College of Montana, Montana Wesleyan College, Intermountain Union College, and Polytechnic Institute.

Collection Development

The records of Rocky Mountain College* emanate from many sources. The Archives must rely on the cooperation and support of the administration, deans, directors, faculty, students, and alumni to ensure that material of historical value is collected and preserved. The Heritage Archives may collect material in the following categories from administrative and academic units of the College.


The official records encompass the records or papers generated by or received from various administrative offices of Rocky Mountain College in the conduct of their business. These records may include:

A. Minutes, memoranda, correspondence, and reports of the Board of Trustees.

B. Records of the Office of the President, including correspondence, administrative subject files, and reports.

C. Correspondence, subject files, and reports of the Office of Academic Affairs.

D. Minutes, memoranda, and reports of all major academic and administrative commissions, councils, and committees including the Executive Council, Administrative Council, and Faculty Executive Council.

E. Departmental records, including reports, correspondence, syllabi, and records of the continuing education office.

F. Accreditation reports and supporting documentation.

G. Annual budget and audit reports.

H. Personnel records or retired, resigned, or deceased faculty.

I. Records of the registrar, including timetables and class schedules, enrollment reports, graduation rosters, and other reports issued on a regular basis.

J. Minutes and records of the Alumni Association.

K. Reports and agendas of the Office of Student Affairs, including admissions, financial aid, and student services.

L. Reports and records of the development office, including annual fund, capital fund, fund development, constituent relations, and public relations and records of student organizations.

M. All publications, newsletters, or booklets distributed in the name of Rocky Mountain College including: catalogs, College directories, faculty/staff rosters, faculty and administration newsletters and publications, alumni publications, and ephemeral material.

N. Audiovisual materials documenting the development of the College, such as photographs, negatives, slides, motion picture films, oral history interviews, and audio and video tapes, discs, and recordings.

O. Maps, prints, and drawings documenting the physical growth of the College.

P. Reports of research projects, including grant records.

Q. Artifacts relating to the history of Rocky Mountain College.

The official administrative records of Rocky Mountain College (correspondence, reports, and subject files) should be inactive and no longer of use in the activities of the originating office. They should be forwarded to the archives according to a schedule agreed upon by the archives staff and the office of origin. A representative of the archives will consult with the various offices to arrange for orderly transfer of non-current material destined for the archives. When material is forwarded it should be accompanied by an inventory describing the records being transferred. The originating office may wish to place restrictions on access to non-current records.


As an important part of its mission of documenting the internal life of the Rocky Mountain College community, the Heritage Archives actively seeks to acquire, organize, and make available the personal and professional papers of the Rocky Mountain College faculty.

Faculty papers offer insight into the history and operation of the College that otherwise may be lost by relying only on official administrative records. They reveal professional interests and opinions that frequently clarify matters mentioned in the official records of the central administration. Faculty papers document the academic life of the College and relate one's academic career to his or her total interests, thereby constituting an important historical record. Personal viewpoints expressed in private correspondence and documentation resulting from service on academic committees provide a better basis for understanding the offices. Without a broad range of faculty papers the formal official accounts of the College are often misleading.

The following reflects the types of documentation sought by the Heritage Archives:

1. Correspondence

a. Official: outgoing (copies and drafts) and incoming correspondence and memoranda generated in the course of conducting College business.

b. Professional: outgoing and incoming correspondence relating to all facets of one's academic career, colleagues, publishers, professional societies, students, etc.

c. Personal: letters to/from friends, relatives, acquaintances, business correspondence, etc.

2. Biographical material: resumes, vita sheets, bibliographical sketches, chronologies, genealogies, newspaper clippings, personal memoirs, etc.

3. Photographs: prints, slides, negatives

4. Tape recordings: lectures, speeches, discussions, etc.

5. Class lecture notes and syllabi.

6. Research files.

7. Departmental or committee minutes and records.

*Rocky Mountain College refers to Rocky Mountain College and its predecessor schools, including College of Montana, Montana Wesleyan College, Intermountain Union College, and Polytechnic Institute.