Tag Archives: Cultural heritage

Archives and typhoon damage in the Northern Mariana Islands

On Sunday August 2, 2015, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, was hit by Typhoon Soudelor with winds of up to 105 mph. There was massive damage particularly on the island of Saipan, home to the Northern Marianas College where the territorial archives is maintained. Christopher Todd, the territorial archivist, reports that the archives were largely undamaged by the storm, but roughly half of the Northern Marianas College has been completely destroyed. Saipan has not had running water or power for two weeks and it will likely be a month or more before these services are restored. In the meantime all staff are working full time for the American Red Cross emergency response team and trying to locate a generator to power the archives’ HVAC system before the records begin to deteriorate.

Colleagues from SAA and CoSA are in communication with Chris Todd, with FEMA contacts through CoSA’s Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records project, and with colleagues from the West Coast and Pacific Islands to explore how the archival community can help address this situation.

We will continue to monitor this and share information as it becomes available.

Archivists and Cultural Heritage: Unexpected Synergies

Just before my unexpected October vacation I was given the great honor to serve as the keynote speaker for the Cultural Heritage Symposium held at the Library of Congress. There were an impressive array of attendees and speakers, many of them leaders in their field and all of them enthusiastic about cultural heritage.

The theme for my talk was building bridges and I spent quite a bit of time talking about issues relating to acquiring and providing access to cultural heritage materials. I also talked about the impact of outsiders coming in to collect and document tangible and intangible cultural heritage. One of the quotes I used came from Brien Brothman who noted in an article that Plato may have been correct when he warned us that writing may destroy memory for recording sanctions forgetfulness. (That is such a provocative quote to me.) Continue reading