NARA is an acronym that stands for the National Archives and Records Administration. It is an independent agency of the United States federal government, established in 1934, responsible for preserving and providing access to the records of the U.S. government.
The primary mission of NARA is to safeguard and make available the nation's and its citizens' historical documents. These records include vital government documents, such as the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, as well as other important historical materials like photographs, maps, and audiovisual recordings. NARA also collects and preserves records from federal agencies and branches of government, creating an extensive archive that documents the rich history of the United States.
Beyond preservation, NARA provides access to these records through various means, including physical locations known as National Archives facilities, as well as digital platforms and online databases. These resources allow researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public to search, view, and analyze the documents in order to gain a deeper understanding of the nation's history, culture, and governance.
Additionally, NARA plays a vital role in ensuring transparency and accountability in government by overseeing the management and disposition of federal records. This includes establishing guidelines for recordkeeping, managing the transfer of records from government agencies to the archives, and assisting in the proper disposal or retention of records.
In summary, NARA is the U.S. federal agency responsible for safeguarding, preserving, and providing access to the nation's historical records and government documents, allowing for the exploration and study of American history.