The CHPs role is to contribute to the development of knowledge of postal history from the Ancien Rgime to the present. Postal history is both multidisciplinary and thematic, since it involves national history, institutions, administration as well as individuals and their skills, business and its procedures, and French social history. In an enterprise where history is fore grounded, the CHP must encourage and sustain research on universal postal history, preserve and distribute this knowledge, and form relationships with similar associations and organizations, as well as with other businesses in France and abroad.
The goals of the CHP are :
- to assemble an oral and written archival collection by assembling the reminiscences and testimony of those who took part in or witnessed events in postal life.
- to organize periodic autobiographical contests, based on the account of ones life; to create inventories, guides and statistical yearbooks.
- to create a documentary collection and preserve existing collections.
- to guide, encourage and promote research by granting fellowships to masters and doctoral students, as well grants for post-doctoral work.
- to support research on postal history by organizing conferences and study days, and/or participate in these events.
- to publish and make available works on the history of postal service.
Two tasks were originally assigned to the CHP when it was re-launched in 1995 :
- to conserve and enhance the archival patrimony of the French Post Office, taking inventory of existing collections and allowing services to manage their collections more efficiently by implementing managerial boards; to establish a full-time organization for the conservation of these archives. With this capability, La Poste created a National Archival Service (SNA in French) at the end of 1997, and enlisted a conservator from the National Archives, a graduate of the Ecole de Chartres, to head the service. Since then the service, which is linked to the presidential board of La Poste Group, has completely guided the archival politics of the group according to current legislative rules.
- to preserve the collections of the former PTT administration central library, on the avenue de Ségur, pursuant to the separation of La Poste and France Telecom. CHP efforts contributed to the agreement that connects the two entities through the management of the new Bibliothèque Historique des Postes et Télécommunications (BHPT) located in the renovated offices of France Télécom in Ivry-sur-Seine since 2001.