The Year of Living Dangerously for Archives Challenge #2: Archives and the Human Face of War

We’re in the midst of American Archives Month, and I hope many of you are involved in activities that you’ll share with us so we can keep track of your efforts to raise awareness of the importance of archival records. (check out Challenge #1 and the submission forms at http://www2.archivists.org/living-dangerously/value-of-archives.) While that’s underway, it’s time to plan for Challenge #2, focusing on ways to connect to the commemorations of Veterans Day on November 11th and Pearl Harbor Day on December 7th.

The experience of war has a compelling interest for many people in the United States.  In fact, the Library of Congress Subject Headings categorize American history largely based on war (as opposed to the British, who use the reigns of monarchs!).  Our elected officials often draw attention to their war service, and their detractors point to those who did not serve.   Film, television, videogames, literature and history are only a few ways our society follows the many perspectives on war.  From the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, two World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of us have collections that reflect the stories and experiences of soldiers, nurses, and those “at home.”  These letters, diaries, photographs, songs, and oral histories provide very real connections and insights for many people.

These events provide us with another opportunity to raise awareness of our holdings and the value of archives.  So check out our next challenge: http://www2.archivists.org/living-dangerously/human-face-of-war. Please be sure to let us know what steps you have taken and what went well or what challenges were involved. We look forward to hearing from you!

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