Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

The Kautz Family YMCA Archives proudly maintains the 160+ years of history and heritage of the national YMCA movement, including the Y's Protestant evangelical origins, its contributions to war relief, sport and physical fitness, international work, educational initiatives and programs & much more. This resource for all YMCA staff provides a host of services to assist in individual and organizational development and learning.

The Archives with the support of Y-USA and the Y-Retirement fund are pleased to announce the YMCA History Project. This program will allow you to implement a historic preservation program at your YMCA via a "toolkit." In addition to the toolkit the Archives are pleased to assist with:


  • Writings and presentations
    YMCA archivists are available share our rich collective history by speaking or writing on historical aspects of current or past YMCA programs and activities.
  • Developing training sessions
    By incorporating the history of the YMCA into training sessions a new generation of leaders will be inspired by the giants who created our past.
  • Exhibits
    The Archives can help bring to life the past by advising on content and layout, providing access to thousands of images, documents, and books or lending preexisting exhibits.
  • Marketing, outreach and fundraising
    All YMCAs are part of the 160-year-old national movement. Leveraging this heritage tells funders and the community that you are experts committed to the work.
  • Serving as a YMCA ambassador
    With over half of the YMCAs around the world owing their founding the American YMCA movement, the archives can bring you up to speed on their past and provide you with a rare image to present as a gift.

Example Projects and Activities: