Rapid advances in molecular genetic techniques and the statistical analysis of genetic data have revolutionized the way that populations of animals, plants and microorganisms can be monitored. Genetic monitoring is the practice of using molecular genetic markers to track changes in the abundance, diversity or distribution of populations, species or ecosystems over time, and to follow adaptive and non-adaptive genetic responses to changing external conditions. In recent years, genetic monitoring has become a valuable tool in conservation management of biological diversity and ecological analysis, helping to illuminate and define cryptic and poorly understood species and populations. Many of the detected biodiversity declines, changes in distribution and hybridization events have helped to drive changes in policy and management. Because a time series of samples is necessary to detect trends of change in genetic diversity and species composition, archiving is a critical component of genetic monitoring. Here we discuss the collection, development, maintenance, and use of archives for genetic monitoring. This includes an overview of the genetic markers that facilitate effective monitoring, describes how tissue and DNA can be stored, and provides guidelines for proper practice.