One of the wonderful things about archival records is that they can “give voice” to people from the past: a civil rights activist from Alabama, a farm wife from Kansas, a Chicano politician from Texas, a World War I pilot, a factory worker from Detroit, a fly fisherman from Montana, a schoolchild in Alaska. What amazing voices exist in your archives?
This month we hope you’ll share some examples of individuals from the past who have a unique, surprising, or very compelling story to tell. They need not be “famous.” In fact, we hope you will tap into the diversity of voices and experiences that our records represent — the people who might normally go unheard but who have compelling stories that we can share.
Please take time in March to share with us at least one “voice” from your archival collections. Keep it simple and concise. In just a paragraph (or two), tell us the highlights of the individual’s life or role and indicate why you think his/her voice is important. You may want to include a quotation or photo if it helps to tell the story. Here’s the website link:
After you’ve submitted the story through the SAA website, think about how you can share this person’s life with others — maybe via a Facebook or blog post to your users, tweeting quotations from a diary, engaging a journalist to do an article in your local newspaper. Find a way yourself to give voice to the incredible people in your archival “neighborhood”!
It’s time for the fifth challenge as part of “The Year of Living Dangerously for Archives!”
We recently heard from many of you about why you’re an archivist and what you love about archives. The results were inspiring. You get it, you know what we do matters, as evidence by literally hundreds of statements, many very heartfelt and compelling. Words and phrases emerged like “making people more compassionate and self-aware”, “fighting for the continued existence and better sharing of stories”, facilitating relationships across time”, “solving mysteries”, “memory, accountability, identity and culture”, “supporting democracy, knowledge and innovation”, “defending the rights of people.” Many, many more words and statements were offered that demonstrate how many of us are truly dedicated to and passionate about our profession. Continue reading
Reflection is part of the holiday season for many. It’s a time to think about life, family, friends, community. So first, let me thank all of you for the gift of a year to spend working with you and serving our profession in ways both planned and unexpected. Thanks also for the ideas, thoughts, concerns, frustrations, plans and aspirations shared by many of you. Connecting “live” is a great gift for me—social media is great, but a real voice has timbre and tone that is hard to replace. However you have communicated, though, I appreciate the gift of your voice. I hope you will continue and others will join the conversation in the coming calendar year. Continue reading
The story of Detroit’s bankruptcy and the accompanying challenges has been in the news regularly for some time. My French-Canadian ancestors came across “détroit” (the straits) in the 1790s and generations of my family have been proud to call that city home—and when asked where I’m from, I still claim Detroit. I was fortunate to pursue my archival education at Wayne State University in the archival studies program led by Dr. Philip P. Mason. One of the great gifts for students at Wayne is the nearness of the Detroit Institute of Art, where we often would head on weekends or between classes to wander through the galleries. So I regularly read the articles about the bankruptcy, which included discussions of potentially selling off some or all of the astonishing collections of the DIA. Continue reading
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. Continue reading