In general, archives are places that store, protect, and provide access to unique records of government and corporate bodies and the papers of individuals and families.
Some examples of materials found in archives include but are not limited to:
These types of documents are called primary source documents.
Primary sources documents are original documents that provide the first form or appearance of new information. Unlike secondary sources such as textbooks, which are written after historical events take place, primary source documents provide unique insight into the past and a direct link to original thoughts, ideas, and works.
You can use the primary sources found in archives as reference sources for papers and projects as well as for learning more about people, subjects, events, and ideas you're interested in