Documents relating to the Highland Clearances and other papers dating from before the Battle of Culloden will be housed in a new archive centre.
A reconstruction of the 1746 Battle of Culloden
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a £4.3m grant towards the cost of the £10.2m project.
Construction of the Highland Archive Centre on a site near the Floral Hall, Inverness, will begin next year.
Highland Council, which is backing the venture, said the building should be completed by 2009.
It will be used to carefully store material including post-Battle of Culloden legislation, documents relating to the Highland Clearances and details of council meetings from the 15th Century.
Many of the papers are hidden away in private collections across the region.
The centre will also offer a family research facility and will store the largest police archive in local authority care in Scotland.
Among the collections to be stored will be the Highland photographic archive, containing 150,000 images.
Councillor Andy Anderson, chairman of Highland Council's education culture and sport committee, said: "Our archives are of world significance and now we will be able to showcase them in one brand new state of the art building.
"The archive centre will be part of Highland Council's celebration of Highland 2007, when Scotland will celebrate our culture."