A COPA Guide to SAA 2017

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Just one month to go until the annual conference in Portland!  As you plan your conference schedule, take a look at the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA)’s guide to all things public awareness-related at SAA 2017: https://archives2017.sched.com/committeeonpublicawareness.

To make it even more digestible, we’ve broken down the Sched list into the top 5 things you should check out.

1.) Be sure to catch our 2nd annual Advocacy Forum on Thursday at noon!  Our timely topic is “Archival Advocacy and Awareness Amid Social/Political Upheaval.”  This talk will be moderated by COPA chair Sami Norling and the Committee on Public Policy (COPP) chair Dennis Riley.

2.) Chat with us during our COPA office hours in the Exhibit Hall on Friday.  We’ll be there from 8 – 8:30 am and 12:30 – 1:30 pm.  We’ll be collecting your Federal Funding Impact Stories, ideas for Ask An Archivist Day 2017 (October 4, 2017), nominations for inspirational archives speakers and stellar collections, and soliciting contributions to this very blog!

3.) Still not sure what COPA does?  If you arrive early, join us for our meeting on Wednesday at 2:00 pm.

4.) Staying late?  Take advantage of all of The Liberated Archive sessions, happening throughout the day on Saturday.

5.) Finally, look at all of that green in the middle of our schedule.  There are so many great sessions highlighting archival outreach to the community this year.  You’re sure to find one which fits your particular public outreach interest.

See you in Portland!

Federal Funding Impact Story #6

Project: Michiana Memory Digitizing Local African American, Latinx, and LGBTQ Materials in St. Joseph County, Indiana

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Odie Mae Johnson, at graduation, 1931. Courtesy of Indiana University South Bend Archives.

Granting Agency: Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
Grant Program: LSTA Grants to States
State Library Administrator: Indiana State Library
Institutions: St. Joseph County Public LibraryIndiana University South Bend ArchivesIU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center
State: Indiana
Congressional District: 2nd Indiana Congressional District
Grant Period: 2014-2017
Award Amount: $28,880
Institutional Match Amount: $6,000

Jobs Created:
3 FTE for 36 months
9 PTE 20 hr/wk positions for 36 months.

Project Description
In January 2014, the St. Joseph County Public Library reached out to the IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center and IU South Bend Archives to combine their collections related to African American and civil rights history. The combined archives launched within the Michiana Memory history website in February 2015. Since then, thousands of guests have accessed the materials. The renewal of the LSTA Indiana Memory Digitization Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services of the Indiana State Library in 2015 led to the inclusion of more materials than ever, including oral histories about African American and Latino history, and the first collection of LGBTQ history in the Michiana community. Guests can access the collections now by visiting http://michianamemory.sjcpl.org.

What was the need for the grant?
We saw the need to make digital content available to the public from St. Joseph County, Indiana. And specifically we wanted to make voices speak out from the primary sources from marginalized portions of our community: African Americans, Latinos, and LGBTQ communities. The Archives at Indiana University South Bend partnered with the St. Joseph County Public Library and the Civil Rights Heritage Center to make this happen.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
We have been monitoring use through Google Analytics – and seeing it in use in the thousands every month. The Archivist at IU South Bend has also been seeing many students’ bibliographies citing the site for primary source research. Further, many reference requests are spurred by people’s use of the site. The requests come in on the national – and sometimes international – level. Consistently – month by month – using Google Analytics – the Civil Rights and African American History section of Michiana Memory, funded by LSTA and IMLS, is in the 2,000 to 3,000 user area – the highest user area of all the sections on the local history site.

Submission by: Alison Stankrauff, Archivist and Associate Librarian, Indiana University South Bend
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Federal Funding Impact Story #5

Project: Music Quest

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Granting Agency: Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
Grant Program: LSTA Grants to States
State Library Administrator: California State Library
Grant Program: Eureka! Leadership Program
Institution: Contra Costa County Library
State: California
Congressional District: 11th California Congressional District
Grant Period: 2014-2015
Award Amount: $5,000
Institutional Match Amount: $5,000

Project Description
Music Quest was created to help supplement the lack of music programs in the lower income community in Pittsburg, CA by offering free music workshops for teens, which allowed them to learn the fundamentals of playing musical instruments, improve their reading and social skills, and to help them learn how to integrate music into their
lives.

What was the need for the grant?
The objective of implementing this program at the Pittsburg Library and Oakley Library was to offer lower income youth an introduction to music at no cost, which would enhance their understanding and knowledge of music and empower them to seek out other musical opportunities. After doing extensive research it was determined that music is a highly effective motivator for teens and as I have seen first hand it can change a teens life to learn to play an instrument.  After delivering the guitar and drum workshops, it was clear that the students were learning basic skill levels in guitar and drums and would be able to continue to play on their own. After these workshops, these students began to understand the power of music lessons and wanted to continue with instruction to further their skill and knowledge.  Some of the students were at the time of the workshop sessions homeless and despite their challenged living situation they attended every single workshop.  It became clear that when the teens were learning and playing the instruments they became inspired, motivated, and wanted to learn more.  They also connected with their fellow peers, bonded, and some formed lasting friendships and are still connected even now.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
Music Quest participants were evaluated on attendance plus participation and were given a survey at the end of the workshop series in order to gauge increased skill level, opinion of the workshop content and the instruction process. By observing the workshops and evaluating the surveys, the results proved that all of the teens that participated in the guitar workshops ended up with more than a basic understanding of the different parts of the guitar, tuning, and were able to learn chord progressions and drum beats. The program definitely had an impact on the local community.  Partnerships were made with the City of Pittsburg and Pittsburg High School, Freedom High School in Oakley. Local music instructors were chosen to give the lessons and spent many hours working with the teens at the library.  Local musicians visited the sessions and a special finale concert was put together for the community to gather together to see these amazing teens play instruments.

A total of 87 students participated in the Music Quest program over a one year span at the library.  After taking the music lesson workshops, these students began to understand the power of music lessons and wanted to continue with instruction to further their skill and knowledge. In addition, through the workshop survey, it was determined that all of the students that participated in the guitar and drum workshops agreed that music is a lifelong source of enrichment and became much more interested
and aware of music opportunities available to them such as careers in music, recording, and sound management.

Submission by: Kimberli Buckley, Community Library Manager, Contra Costa County Library

 

Federal Funding Impact Story #4

Project: Detroit Institute of Arts Archives Assessment

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Detroit Museum of Art exhibition catalog, 1886.

 

Granting Agency: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
Grant Program: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Institution: Detroit Institute of Arts
State: Michigan
Congressional District: 13th Michigan Congressional District
Grant Period: June 20, 2016-July 31, 2017
Award Amount: $40,000
Institutional Match Amount: $40,000

Jobs Created:
– 1 PTE 28 hr/wk position for 12 months
– 3 graduate students earning 3 credits each for 5 months of experience

Project Description
Assess and establish intellectual control over a collection of 11,000 linear feet of the museum’s administrative records, dating back to its founding, including 30 years of unprocessed artists’ correspondence, acquisition records, director’s files and curators’ exhibition papers.

What was the need for the grant?
Documents within the DIA’s Research Library and Archives detail pivotal moments in the City of Detroit’s history. Most recently, they described the DIA’s role in the resolution of the City of Detroit’s 2013 bankruptcy. It was the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history both by debt, estimated at $18 billion, and by population, over 700,000 residents. At the time, the DIA was owned by the City of Detroit. It was also the city’s most valuable asset. Following the bankruptcy filing, creditors asked for the sale of DIA art. News agencies predicted the museum would close.

During bankruptcy proceedings, the DIA’s archival records helped save the museum. During the trial, over 180,000 DIA records were digitized for court proceedings. The documents showed that most of the museum’s most important works came from non-City of Detroit support. They were used extensively during the approval of a financial agreement that would come to be known as the “Grand Bargain.”

Unfortunately, like most of the DIA’s archival records, very few of the bankruptcy documents had previously been appraised, accessioned or processed. All such activities stopped thirty years ago, following severe museum-wide budget cuts and the dissolution of the DIA’s archival team. Therefore thirty years of records, including artist correspondence, directors and curators’ papers, and acquisition documents, have not received archival treatment. Many of the museum’s earlier documents, dating back to the late 19th century, have not been processed either.

Following Detroit’s bankruptcy and its resolution, the museum has better financial stability than at any other time in its modern history. With financial stability and a bankruptcy behind it, the DIA has resumed its commitment to its archival activities.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
The holdings survey was the key to understanding the unknowns of the materials currently held in RL&A. The museum is fully committed to making its archives more available and better organized for researchers. The Project Director and DIA Archivist are now able to better strategize future use of the DIA archives upon discovering its full contents. An immediate outcome of the holdings survey is improved access to collection, in particular, those that have been “hidden.” The collections-based reports can subsequently be translated into finding aids and catalog records for better access to the local, national, and international community.

The Project Team synthesized the results of the holdings survey with the input of the Advisory Team. The combined intelligence has been used to strengthen physical and intellectual control over the collection. The holdings survey provided the evidence needed to move forward with making sound decisions for improvements in description and access, prioritizing preservation needs, informing workflows, identifying issues we were not aware of, and plan for future projects (such as a future digitizing project).
Impact 3: To date, 164 collections (approximately 8,000 cases and 4,700 cubic feet) have been identified within the Library Stacks (the library’s book storage area) Archives Stacks, the DIA’s offsite Warehouse, and various other departments within the museum including AV offices and the Photography Department. Materials in each of these locations were inventoried and compiled into a single database for ready reference with rankings to reflect housing quality, physical quality, physical access, intellectual access, and intellectual value. These rankings are to inform and prioritize for future digitization efforts.

Submission by: Danae Dracht, Project Archivist, Detroit Institute of Arts
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Federal Funding Impact Story #3

Project: Documenting Modern Living

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Alexander Girard textile design floor plan, ca. 1956, on the IMA Archives Digital Archives Portal landing page (archive.imamuseum.org)

Granting Agency: National Endowment for the Humanities
Grant Program: Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Institution: Indianapolis Museum of Art
State: Indiana
Congressional District: Indiana US District 7
Grant Period: April 2012 – May 2015
Award Amount: $190,000
Institutional Match Amount: $221,000

Jobs Created:
The largest portion of the award received from NEH went to the hiring of two full time employees–one for 18 months, and the other for 24 months.

Project Description
Digitization of the Miller House and Garden Collection, and creation of a Digital Archives Portal for delivery of content.

What was the need for the grant?
The Miller House and Garden Collection documents the design, construction, decoration, and maintenance of the iconic mid-century modern property for over 50 years. When the house and garden were gifted to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, this important archival collection also came to the museum. To assist the IMA in successfully stewarding the home and the many collections materials that came along with it, increased access and better preservation of the archival collection were key. Digitization would solve both needs, and a grant would allow for the purchase of digitization equipment and the hiring of staff to undertake the years-long process.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
This project has allowed for unprecedented access to an important mid-century design collection that documents the legacies of Daniel Urban Kiley, Eero Saarinen, and Alexander Girard. The easy availability of this material has made it possible for the Indianapolis Museum of Art to present the story of the home to the Columbus and broader Indiana  and national communities at a level of detail and accuracy that would not have been possible without the grant award. Perhaps the greatest impact that this project has had is on the country’s future architects, as architecture students from around the country have requested the high-resolution images of the home and landscape architectural drawings to further their studies. Students of interior design have similarly benefited, and will continue to do so for many decades to come.

This grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities has also had a direct impact on the lives of the two full time, temporary employees hired with the grant funds. One has gone on to further the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives as their archivist, and the other was offered a job at a high-profile design company immediately following the grant period as a result of their work on the Documenting Modern Living project.

Submission by: Samantha Norling, Archivist, Indianapolis Museum of Art
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Federal Funding Impact Story #2

Project: Preservation at the Charleston County Records Center

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Granting Agency: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
Grant Program: Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions
Institution: Charleston County Government
State: South Carolina
Congressional District: SC 1st Congressional District
Grant Period: January 2016 – June 2017
Award Amount: $6,000

Jobs Created:
1 contract consultant job created

Project Description
Preservation needs assessment conducted by a Lyrasis consultant, along with the purchase of preservation materials to rehouse archival collections.

What was the need for the grant?
Many of the oldest, most valuable records held at the Charleston County Records Center (CCRC) were in need of preservation. Federal grant funds from the NEH aided in beginning the process of developing a preservation program through the preservation needs assessment and provided funds for rehousing materials needed to adequately preserve archival records.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
The project impacted the local citizens of Charleston County by developing a plan to ensure their records and their ancestor’s records are in good condition and accessible in the future. At the national level, this project looked at how to ensure that historical records of research interest will be preserved for future research purposes. The grant also made it possible for CCRC to purchase 150 archival boxes to rehouse historic Clerk of Court records that date pre-1950.

Submission by: Haley Doty Vaden, Records Manager, Charleston County Government

Federal Funding Impact Story #1

Project: Archives, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance

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Celebration (1934), Copyright, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of Douglas and Bruce Fraser.

Granting Agency: NHPRC (National Historical Publications & Records Commission)
Grant Program: Archives and Records Projects
Institution: Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
State: New York
Congressional District: NYS 10th Congressional District
Grant Period: Numerous
Award Amount: Various
Institutional Match Amount: 30-50%

Jobs Created:
– Training for recent college graduates in US History, Political Science, Culture, and Literature;
– Full-time positions for Master’s degree recipients in archives management and services.

Project Description
Identification, processing, cataloging of archival records documenting great American choreographers and dancers.

What was the need for the grant?
The work of Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Merce Cunningham, several of America’s greatest and iconic choreographers, has been preserved in various archives-related initiatives funded by federal grants from NHPRC, NEH, and NEA. These projects have ensured that generations of American dancers will have the opportunity to learn the works that reflect our culture at its creative best and American citizens of all walks of life will have the opportunity to study how our artistic endeavors reflect what our democracy has nurtured. The archival resources that preserve the fundamentals of our culture continue to   a)fuel employment for dancers, musicians, costume and set designers, teachers of dance; b)ensure shared opportunities for audiences to see and gain knowledge about expressions of American creativity; and c) make it possible for us to show our cultural accomplishments to and build bridges to those from other cultures. All of the foregoing are meaningful, useful, and long-lasting.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
Preservation of and access to documentation and information; enrichment of education of American culture and history; increased opportunities to reach beyond our own cultural borders. The choreography of all three of these great American choreographers now is seen and being taught nationwide (including all 50 states in the United States) and in many communities large and small. In numerous countries worldwide dance, along with music, are recognized as both inspiring and effective ambassadors.  (While the dance company managers have access to specific metrics related to use, educational impact, etc., I do not. Full-time positions were necessary to achieving preservation of these archival assets and access to the information and resources for the duration of the grants.  Subsequently, archivists continue to be employed to manage the archives and help others use them.

Submission by: Linda Edgerly, Director, Information & Archival Services, The Winthrop Group
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