The National Archives of Estonia is the centre of archival administration in Estonia. The main task of the National Archives is to ensure preservation and usability of society's written memory, documented cultural heritage for today's and future generations. On the other hand, the National Archives guarantees the protection of citizens basic rights and duties and the transparency of the democratic state through the holding and preservation of authentic documents.
The National Archives is a government agency in the domain of Ministry of Education and Research, which includes Historical Archives, State Archives, Film Archives and 4 regional departments in Haapsalu, Kuressaare, Rakvere and Valga (look at the locations on the map). All Estonian public archives, except Tallinn City Archives and Narva City Archives, belong to the National Archives' system. The National Archives deals with digital archives management issues with the support of Digital Archives and development of research is covered by Research and Publishing Bureau. The archives' economic activities and other supportive services function with the help of Administrative Bureau. Also look at the National Archives':
The National Archives is located in a historical building in the centre of Tartu at J. Liivi 4. The offices of the National Archives are open from Monday to Thursday at 8-17 and on Friday at 8-16, for the reception of the State Archivist please make a booking at the secretary, +372 738 7505.
Although the National Archives as an institution is young, the establishment of the national archives system started already at the beginning of the Republic of Estonia. Due to the Archive Committee's first discussions on March 3 in 1920 and their initiative, the current Historical Archives was established in Tartu as the holding place for historically significant insitutions documents and the State Archives in Tallinn as the keeper of documents of active institutions. The 1935 Archives Act strengthened the role of archives in the preservation and usage of society's valuable documents. During the Soviet occupation the archives continued their work, the regional archives, which were active in larger towns, were renamed as city archives and governed by Moscow. Independent management of the archives was restored in the 1990s and the National Archives of Estonia became active on January 1, 1999, in accordance with the Archives Act passed in 1998 (read further about the history of archives in Estonia: Historical Archives, Film Archives). Since January 1, 2012, all the state archives function according to the new Archives Act (read also about the last act: yearbook 2009-2010, pp. 15-23).
The National Archives' advisory body, the Consultative Board, operates for the purpose of co-ordinating the activities of structural units, exchanging information, drawing up a development plan, and making proposals concerning the management of archival activities. Members of the Consultative Board are as following: