• Oregon State Archives, 1985-2005.
  • Oregon State Archivist, 2005-2019.
  • Oregon Civics Education, Kid Governor, State Coordinator, 2019-2020.

About Mary Beth Herkert

A college professor turned Mary Beth Herkert onto archives and she never looked back. Hired in 1985 by State Archivist Roy Turnbaugh, Herkert became an integral part of the small archives staff. Together, they took the floundering archive and developed it into a cutting-edge, online, and accessible collection of state government official documents.

In her oral history, Herkert defines what archives are, how anyone can access archived documents, as well as where archives are headed in the future. “The challenges of technology in the archives are huge….How do you capture all this information? And the volume of information….is exponentially more than what we had in the paper world.” She also discusses the politics and funding of archives. This includes the current archive building and why it—despite its controversial origins—has served the people of Oregon well.

One career achievement Herkert points to was her role in the restoration of Oregon’s State Constitution; a process she recounts in vivid detail. 

The last years of her career shifted from archives to another love, civics education. Specifically, Herkert discusses leading the Oregon Kid Governor Program. “Our four kid governors are great ambassadors for the state and they will make great future leaders whether they run for office or get involved in their communities!”

– Interview recorded April 30, 2021