The Free State of Thuringia maintains five state archives and a main state archive of equal rank as the basic organisational structure of the state at the governmental level. This state archive system is based on the grown archive structures of the Thuringian cultural landscape. All Thuringia's state archives therefore have a history that goes back several centuries and reflects the development of Thuringia's small states. The structure of the state archives in the former residence towns of Altenburg, Gotha, Greiz, Meiningen, Rudolstadt and Weimar still clearly depict the historical administrative structures. Those territorial state systems disappeared with the abolition of the monarchy in 1918.
The present appearance of the state archives is a result of the merger of the Thuringian states to form the state of Thuringia in 1920. This led to the formation of the Thuringian state archives in 1923 from the archives of the former principalities. They were given a legal framework in 1932 with the "Thüringer Archivordnung".
After the dissolution of the federal states of the GDR in 1952, the state archives lost their ties to the no longer existing federal structure. The state archives in Weimar (Erfurt), Rudolstadt (Gera) and Meiningen (Suhl) were responsible for the corresponding districts of the former GDR. Until 1990 the archives in Altenburg, Gotha and Greiz therefore did not grow and functioned as "Historical State Archives" or branch offices. Only after German reunification in 1990, under the cultural sovereignty of the new federal state, all sites became public archives of the Free State of Thuringia with their own geographical jurisdiction.
Under the supervision of the Ministry of Science (now the Ministry of Culture) the development of the new state archive in Thuringia began in 1991, which received a legal basis with the Thuringian Law on the Protection and Use of Archival Material dated June 29, 2018. Since 2014 the highest archival authority for supervision, subject-specific supervision and legal supervision is the Thuringian State Chancellery. While maintaining all locations the six state archives have been organizationally combined to the Landesarchiv Thüringen based in Weimar.
The holdings of the state archives cover a period from the 8th century to the present. They have a total volume of 65km of archival material and collections.
Further information on the history of the authorities, record groups and training in the field of archives can be found on the websites of the State Archives landesarchiv.thueringen.de.