Safeguarding the British Colonial and Regional Administrative Archive in Northern Ghana

The Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD) in Tamale, northern Ghana, holds rare historical records of the British colonial administration of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. Despite the Archive’s mission to preserve the nation’s heritage for posterity, the collections were in dire need of rescue and preservation.

The endangered historical records at PRAAD contain 1,919 individual files from eight separate collections. The content comprises one record collection from British Colonial administration’s correspondence and seven collections from District Commissioners of the three regions of the Northern territories of the Gold Coast. These records contain reports on land tenure, chieftaincy disputes, and British colonial administrative designs for northern Ghana. The records shed light on the region’s pre-colonial history and British colonialism, and it will benefit anyone interested in British colonial administration in Ghana, as well as scholars interested in the history and culture of Northern Ghana.

Decades of mishandling and lack of conservation resources has made the records fragile. These records are also threatened by the tropical climate, which is causing records to deteriorate at alarming rates.

Stemming from a previous digitisation grant in 2012, the project digitised eight collections from three regions of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, amounting to 212,620 images. The staff at PRAAD were trained in digitisation, metadata standards and imaging procedures. Staff were also trained in archival preservation, maintenance and organisation. The equipment used during the project was donated to the archive to ensure the continued digitisation of their archives.

Project Details

Location: Ghana, Western Africa, Africa Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Northern Illinois University Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £39,574 Commencement Date: 07/2016 Project Status: Completed
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