North Carolina Archives Week
From our SNCA partners: Next week (October 24-30, 2011) is Archives Week! This is an annual, week-long observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities, and individuals. The events not only celebrate the work that we and our organizations do, but they also raise public awareness. By holding exhibit openings, workshops, lectures, open houses, and other related events during Archives Week, North Carolina’s archives community can make a concerted effort to bring the importance of our profession to the attention of our state’s citizenry and public leaders.
The Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) sponsors the week, invites all institutions holding archival collections to participate, and will serve as an information clearinghouse for events occurring during the week.
Your participation in Archives Week is important because increased public awareness of historical records translates into increased support of archives. Archives Week and other outreach efforts help the public and resource allocators such as administrators, trustees, commissioners, and legislators, understand and appreciate that historical records have value for both an understanding of the past and a contribution to the present. By participating in Archives Week you get to show off your collections and the work done by your staff to your colleagues, patrons, and administrators and demonstrate the value of the records and the work you do with them.
The following suggestions for Archives Week programs can be used next week or anytime of year to help your institution reach out to its potential audiences:
- Tours: Behind the scenes tours or open houses can help to dispel the mysterious qualities of what goes on in those back rooms. Create a day where interested patrons can meet the staff, tour the facility and learn about the holdings. Invite special guests as part of this event.
- Family Heritage Day: Genealogists are archives’ most frequent patrons! Devise a program that celebrates the genealogical endeavor. Work to build bridges between archivists and genealogists by educating them through fun activities and exposure of resources.
- Workshops: Present a workshop for the preservation of archival materials to empower the public to save their family histories. This includes photographs, papers, scrapbooks and the like. Arm your residents with the know-how to help assure their families will not go the way of the silverfish and mice!
- Local History Presentations: Local history is a big draw for towns. Invite a local historian to give a lecture about your town or region.
- Archives “Road Show:” Create a community event where locals can bring in their old and rare items. This would be patterned after the Antiques Road Show but would not include appraisal values. Local historians can be on hand to make context connections with the artifacts and local events.
- “Photo Days:” Encourage local residents to bring in their local history-related photographs to be scanned and included in the library’s local photograph collection. Encourage the public to become active “collectors” for the archives in the form of a local photograph collection.
- The lost art of letter writing: Work with high school teachers or history faculty on an assignment that focuses on the lost art of letter writing. Have students come and look at old letters that you have selected from your collection and compare that correspondence to the kind of correspondence they conduct in texting and social media formats.
- Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt for important documents related to the state and/or local history; patterned after the “Amazing Race” (each team receives a clue at each destination to lead them to the next item). This could be done within the confines of the school property (electronically) or as a field trip to various historic buildings or places where records are kept (library, museum, town hall, courthouse). Archivists work with teachers to identify documents and construct clues.
- Oral Histories: Archivists work with elementary school teachers on oral history assignments, where students are assigned to tape-record interviews with the oldest member of their family or oldest person in their neighborhood about some topic related to “old times.” One way to begin is to ask the person being interviewed to find some picture or artifact that sparks memories of something that happened in his/her community and talk about that memory.
- Lecture: Invite frequent researchers to present their findings during an hour-long lecture or famous alumnus about their time at your school. Events like this do not require large expenditures on refreshments. Light snacks and beverages can suffice to make it a fun event.
- Awards or Recognitions: Archives week is a particularly good time to recognize volunteers or people in your community who have supported or made significant contributions to your repository.
- Campus Histories: Provide campus histories or work with campus newspaper staff to construct campus histories about topics such as buildings, events, and famous alumni.
- Essay Contest: Sponsor an essay contest about campus history or another strong collecting area.
There are many promising possibilities to engage your community and to enable your collections to serve the public interest in meaningful ways. Happy Archives Week!
Posted on October 20, 2011, in collections access, guest bloggers, public programs, workshops and tagged Archives Week, Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.