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Student Resources

Welcome to the Archives

The Alaska State Archives holds thousands of historical records that document our state and the people who live in it. Here you'll find photographs, maps, reports, correspondence, audiovisual materials and more created by state agencies, the governor, and the legislature. You can use these materials to learn more about topics in history, such as how we became a state and how government works, events like the 1925 Serum Run and 1964 Earthquake, and much more!

What do you want to explore?

Primary versus Secondary Sources


Primary sources are firsthand accounts or documents created in that time period by those who witnessed an event. Primary sources are used by researchers to gather information about past events, for example in documentary films.

  • Letters
  • Diaries/Journals
  • Speeches
  • Photographs
  • Oral histories
  • Manuscripts
  • Objects/Artifacts
  • Memoirs
  • Film footage from the time of study
  • Newspaper articles written during the time of study


Secondary sources are resources created after an event has occurred and usually are compiled through research using primary sources such as your school history books.

  • Books
  • Encyclopedias
  • Journal articles
  • Museum exhibit text
  • Movies/Documentary films
  • Newspaper/Magazine articles written retrospectively

Still unsure if it's a primary or secondary source? Ask a teacher, your school librarian, or us (Ask an Archivist)!

Ask an Archivist

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Page last updated 05/12/2020