The Archives of Rural History (ARH) are an independent institute active in archiving of sources, scientific research and the dissemination of information and knowledge. Since its foundation in 2002, the first "virtual" archives in Switzerland have developed into a centre of archiving and historical research on rural society. The ARH are insofar a "virtual" archive as the archival holdings we catalogued are usually deposited in state archives or kept by the creators of the records themselves.
The ARH work in close cooperation with partners in Switzerland and abroad. The ARH were, for example, one of the founding members of the European Rural History Organisation EURHO and initiated both, the Swiss Rural History Society SRHS in 2009 and the European Rural History Film Association ERHFA in 2017. It provides furthermore the management of the Database and the Online-Portal of the ERHFA.
In the field of archiving, we cooperate with the Swiss Federal Archives SFA, most of the state archives as well as with special archives such as the Swiss Economic Archives SWA and the Swiss National Library NL.
In research, the ARH cooperate with domestic and foreign research institutions. Juri Auderset holds the Associate Lectureship in 19th and 20th Century History. Current research projects are carried out in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT in Boston (USA), the National University of Ireland NUI in Galway, the Institute for Rural History IGLR in St. Pölten and the Institute of History at the University of Bern.
In 2016, the Swiss Science Council evaluated the ARH on behalf of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and came to the conclusion, that the ARH are a research institution of "national importance" and "an indispensable link between the creators of the records and the state archives". It fulfils tasks that are "not performed by any other institute in Switzerland".
In recognition of "its international orientation and unique position" as a centre of historical research, the German Society for Agricultural History awarded the ARH and its director the AgrarKulturerbe Prize in 2014.
Numerous portraits of the Archives of Rural History have been published in academic journals, on the radio and in the print media. Selection: