In 2020, the Texas Association of REALTORS® celebrated its centennial at its state conference with a 3D art installation commissioned to allow members to click on a piece of TAR history from the past 100 years and learn about that particular point in time.
That unique and meaningful display was made possible with the help of the NAR Library & Archives.
The NAR Archives gathers and documents the history of the National Association of REALTORS® to tell the story of real estate, as well as the stories of the hundreds of associations that are the foundation of the profession across the United States.
Understanding the context and the history of your association in your community is important and valuable knowledge to possess and share. Being able to share and reflect upon your association’s history—how it changed, shaped, and contributed to your community—helps you to better serve members and their customers.
Why Stories Matter
When NAR was founded in 1908, the importance of local and state associations was built into the way the association was to operate. The “three-way agreement” became formalized, with each member of NAR required to be a member of the national, state, and local associations. Because of this foundation, the NAR Archives would not be complete without documentation of the activities of local and state associations.
The Archives houses files from every local and state association, including charters, name changes, jurisdiction maps/changes, constitutions and bylaws, and most official papers from NAR’s Membership Policy & Board Jurisdiction divisions. These files tell the stories of how state and local associations came to be, how they changed over time, and how they are contributing to the advancement of their communities and the real estate profession.
Using those files, the NAR Archives is able to create association histories. We take the materials, scan the historical documents, and put together a timeline of the major events of your association. We not only provide you with information about your own association, but also help you find materials and information so you can contextualize those timeline events.
For example, we can share materials about the REALTOR® convention in a particular year. We can browse historical educational materials about how to market and sell properties. We can look through the National Real Estate Journal to find articles about real estate in your area. Sometimes we find hidden gems like old MLS listing cards from the 1960s or photographs of a float the association made for a community parade.
In addition to our files, we are always available for a discussion about your historical files. Whether they are in order, in 12 places, or in meticulous scrapbooks, we can help guide you to properly care for those materials, or we can take them out of your hands and use them to give a fuller picture of your history.
As associations, we want to be able to say, “We are the experts on real estate in [insert city, town, county, area, etc.] since [year].” It helps communities understand that not only can a REALTOR® be trusted, but that the association behind the REALTOR® is a well-established and trusted organization. Since associations tend to be involved in larger ways in our communities and the longevity of those activities creates a social trust, the NAR Archives can play a role in helping to assure community members that they can rely on REALTORS® and the associations behind them to keep the best interest of their homes top of mind.