Advocacy and Outreach Opportunities at the Archives*Records 2020 Annual Meeting

Last week was the start of the SAA Annual Meeting with the Teaching Primary Sources Unconference kicking off the Pre-Conference activities. Here is a list of some recommendations for awareness and advocacy sessions and creative outreach.

Please note, there is a mix of live, recorded, and on-demand sessions. Make sure to visit the schedule and view session descriptions to see which category a session or meeting falls and whether you need to register for a session.

Wednesday, July 29

College & University Archives Section

Join the Section to continue discussion on the various topics we’ve had at our weekly “coffee chats”, including collecting COVID stories, working and managing remotely, combating systemic racism at our institutions, and our plans for returning to campus. We’ll split into breakout sessions to explore these topics further. But first (after our business meeting), we’ll hear from Katie Howell, who developed a rapid response collecting initiative to document COVID-19 on the campus of UNC Charlotte.

Students & New Archives Professionals Section

Join SNAP for a brief business meeting as we present updates on section projects and advocacy work from the past year and introduce new steering committee members. 

Friday, July 31

Archives Management Section

Look, I Made a Hat: Agility in the Archives
Archives managers are required to don many hats (as it were) in addressing a range of challenges and moving quickly to implement solutions. After conducting some section business, we will transition to presentations on incredibly timely topics: Budgeting, Personnel, and Advocacy.

Monday, August 3

Storytelling Workshop with Micaela Blei

A powerful story has the potential to connect us to our own experiences, pull a community together, and engage new audiences with our work. In this master class storytelling workshop led by two-time Moth GrandSLAM winner (and former Moth director of education) Micaela Blei, you’ll learn “what makes a story work” and the connections among narrative performance, research, and teaching, as well as brainstorm and craft stories of your own.

The workshop is structured to make the online experience as engaging and welcoming as possible—using a webinar format and then an optional small-group discussion structure to allow you to take part in the workshop at the level that will best serve you. 

Registration is required and there is an additional fee of $49.00 to attend.

Wednesday, August 5

Keeping Archives Relevant in a Dizzying Digital World

Join Preservica customers and staff as they explore together the evolving impact of digital archives, celebrate user projects and stories, and discuss innovations in archival practice.

Thursday, August 6

Plenary 1

In addition to hearing our current president, Dr. Meredith Evans speak, this session includes Jodie Foley and Tempestt Hazel. Jodie Foley is the Montana State Archivist at the Montana State Historical Society.

Tempestt Hazel was the 2019 recipient of the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award from the Society of American Archivists. She is a curator, writer, and founder of Sixty Inches From Center, a Chicago-based arts publication and archiving initiative that has promoted and preserved the practices of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ artists, and artists with disabilities across the Midwest since 2010. Focusing primarily on reframing cultural archives and institutional collections, her exhibitions and projects have been produced with the University of North Texas, South Side Community Art Center, Terrain Exhibitions, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, the Smart Museum of Art, and the University of Chicago, among others.

2B – Archival Outreach in the New Normal: Using Digital Platforms to Teach Primary Sources

Learn about the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) longstanding partnership with Internet2 and the Presidential Primary Source Project and the teaching series they have done, completely online. They will share tips for presenting in this medium and discuss methods for regaining audience attention and making the session more interactive.

In addition, learn more how NARA has moved its adult programming to online platforms. They will discuss how to host these kinds of sessions with members of the general public and how to manage registrations, digital platforms, and advertising.

3A – From the Margins to the Center: Foregrounding Underrepresented Communities and Revitalizing Mainstream Collections

This session examines how different approaches to foregrounding marginalized groups and individuals have revitalized established collections at three archival repositories.

3B – Showing Up: Community Engagement Events Toward a Better Cultural Record

This panel will explore the centrality of community partnerships in the diversification of the archival record, featuring programs that have hosted grant-funded community engagement activities to create and collect documentation of historically underrepresented groups.

Friday, August 7

4B – Reframing History: Opening Up Archives to Artists

This panel will highlight the Chicago Archives + Artists Project organized by Sixty Inches From Center and feature visual artists, curators, and writers who have collaborated with archivists, librarians, and other collection caretakers for their research-based creative practices to commission new artworks and curate exhibitions.

Hop into History: Archives and Alcohol in America

Grab a drink, and pull up a stool at the virtual hotel bar for a storytelling session featuring archivists who are working to document various aspects of alcohol history in the United States. Whether your drink of choice is beer, wine, bourbon, or cocktails, we’ll share some stories from our collections that might make you think a little differently the next time you take a sip!

Saturday, August 8

S04 – Ambition, Advocacy, and the Future of Storytelling

Orchestra and radio archivists describe how they pitched forward-thinking projects that break storytelling out of its traditional mold. Participants then break into groups to imagine, share, and learn what the future role of archives will and can be. Practical tips and challenges related to technology, project implementation, and advocacy will be shared.

S11 – Community Collections as Digital Collections

L.A. as Subject (LAAS), Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC), and the Recollect community in Australia and New Zealand will address the lessons learned and future visions in achieving a truly collaborative and reciprocal network. Although they are separate and independent entities, LAAS, CCC, and Recollect developed coinciding missions to collaborate with a diverse set of community archives in order to openly share collections and strengthen the profession through more comprehensive knowledge sharing.

S12 – Connecting to Communities: Outreach at the Missouri State Archives

 In this session archivists from the Missouri State Archives will share their experiences with tours, special events, speaker series, and grant programs. The focus is on creating sustainable, diverse programs to reach a broad range of patrons.

S29 – Love Can’t Turn Around™: Evidences of the Belief in the Power of Our Collective Social Experiences as Sites of Pleasure, Purpose and Politics

The Blackivists™ are a collective of trained and credentialed African-American archivists based in the Chicagoland area who address the needs of people interested in creating and preserving personal, community and “non-traditional” archives. The Blackivists™ collaborated with Honey Pot Performance on a series of programs for the Chicago Black Social Culture Mapping Project, which exists to preserve Chicago’s black social cultural lineage through fun and informative experiences focused on a Chicago based cultural art form: House music.

S35 – Project STAND: Highlights and Hurdles of a National Project on Social Justice and Archives

Project STAND, is a consortium of 70 colleges and universities that has created an online resource centralizing primary sources relating to student activism in historically under-documented and minoritized communities. This session will focus on its creation, highlights, and hurdles, and the role of the archivists to build relationships with marginalized communities, provide tools for documenting activism, and advance archival collections. Speakers will discuss the website and collection highlights, the Archiving Activism toolkit, and the symposia conducted in 2019/2020.

S36 – Protocols 101: How to Start the Conversation at Your Institution

This session explores the future of Indigenous collections stewardship for the 21st century archivist. Following the conference theme, it asks participants to consider how archivists can leverage creativity to make positive changes to collections care and access amidst institutional constraints.

S39 – Remaining Relevant: Changing the aesthetic of archives through collaboration and creativity

This interactive session is opportunity to not only hear what this institution is doing to change the profession, but engage in constructive and collaborative brainstorming with a variety of professionals to incorporate new strategies to better provide access and awareness to collections.

S42 – Setting a New Standard: Practical Applications and Uses of Standardized Measures and Metrics

Presenters will discuss implementation of the  SAA/RBMS Standardized Statistical Measures and Metrics, approved by SAA in 2018, and suggest ways to use statistical data to impact internal operations and advocate for your institution. General recommendations for data collection and application will also be provided. 

Tuesday, August 11

Reference, Access, and Outreach Section

As a part of the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists, the Reference, Access, & Outreach (RAO) section will host its 8th annual Marketplace of Ideas. The Marketplace of Ideas takes place in conjunction with the annual RAO business meeting, and offers participants a chance to learn more about creative instruction, outreach, and reference programs piloted by colleagues. 

Thursday, August 13

Committee on Public Awareness

Come meet the members of the Committee on Public Awareness, hear about our activities over the past year, and learn about our plans for next year!

Know of other outreach- and advocacy-related sessions, events, and general happenings taking place over the course of ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2020 that didn’t make our schedule? Tell us in the comments below, or let us know which of these and other annual meeting events you are most looking forward to!

Advocacy and Outreach Opportunities at the Archives*Records 2019 Annual Meeting

This week is the start of the SAA Annual Meeting. Here is a list of some recommendations for awareness and advocacy sessions and activities.

First things first — stop by the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) table! We’ll have a table in the conference registration area.

  • Saturday afternoon, 3:15 – 4:30 PM the Kitchen Sisters will be at the table playing clips from their podcast!
  • The Archives in Context podcast team will be at the table Sunday from 8:00-10:30 AM and 3:00-5:00 PM to record your elevator speech!
  • Elevator speech postcards – get them while they last!
  • Crafting Your Elevator Speech puzzle – a repeat of last year’s puzzle, be part of the team that puts it together!

Storytelling Workshop with Micaela Blei

Learn how to tell your story—and tell it well! In this introductory COPA-sponsored workshop, you’ll work with two-time Moth GrandSLAM winner (and former Moth director of education) Micaela Blei, PhD, to find stories that you want to tell, learn strategies for delivering riveting stories, and feel great doing it.

“Sing Out, Louise! Sing Out!” The Archivist and Effective Communication

This session includes panelists providing strategies for effective communication, examples of communication fails, and includes Q&A so attendees can share experiences too.

Are you ArchivesAWARE? Teaming up with SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness to Create a Stronger Archives Community

COPA members share successful initiatives and then engage with audience to brainstorm outreach strategies, solutions to outreach obstacles, and how we can better engage with communities that may have barriers to accessing archives.

Community Connections: Unleashing the Potential of Programs and Services Aimed at Underserved Stakeholder Communities

Archivists who oversee labor and social justice collections share their collaborations, programs, and services that have reached beyond the usual academic or institutional stakeholders and discuss the impact of reaching out to underserved communities.

Get With, or at Least On, the Program: Crafting Session Proposals for Archives-Related Sessions at Non-archives Conferences

Panelists from this session share the history and accomplishments of the Society of Southwest Archivists’ new committee, the State Partnerships and Outreach Committee.

What’s Your Elevator Speech?

The Archives in Context podcast team and the Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) are joining together to record your elevator speeches at this year’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

COPA will have a table in the registration area with a Crafting Your Elevator Speech puzzle. Stop by to work on the puzzle and to record your elevator speech with the Archives in Context team for inclusion in a forthcoming episode. The podcast team will be at the COPA table on Sunday, August 4 from 8:00-10:30 AM and 3:00-5:00 PM.

We want these recordings to sound like real conversations, so we’re also looking for your help creating some conversation scenarios.

Three ways to participate:

  1. Contact the Archives in Context team at Chris.Burns@uvm.edu ahead of time to set up an interview or to pitch a scenario (doesn’t have to occur in an elevator).
  2. Stop by the COPA table in the registration area on August 4 between 8:00-10:30 AM or 3:00-5:00 PM.
  3. Can’t make it Austin but want to participate, record your own elevator speech and send it to the email address above.

A Finding Aid To My Soul

This year’s show will be hosted by two-time Moth GrandSLAM winner (and former Moth director of education) Micaela Blei. Featured storytellers: Arielle Petrovich, Katie Moss, Travis Williams, Katie Dishman, Joyce LeeAnn Joseph, Cliff Hight, Kira Lyle, Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Leah Harrison, and Joanna Black.

Blowing Off the Dust: How to Move Your Archives from the Basement to the Public Square

This interactive session is about how to partner with your public radio and includes best practices for pitching to public radio, how cultural institutions and public radio complement each other, and information about a current collaboration between an archive and public radio.

Archival Value: Tales of Professional Advocacy

This session features professionals from a variety of archival settings who share how they advocated for themselves, their staff and students, and their colleagues to get administrative support for the resources they  needed.

Know of other outreach- and advocacy-related sessions, events, and general happenings taking place next week that didn’t make our schedule? Tell us in the comments below, or let us know which of these and other annual meeting events you are most looking forward to!

 

Advocacy and Outreach at the Annual Meeting

Gearing up for the SAA Annual Meeting next week in DC? If you’re looking for opportunities to raise awareness about and advocate for archives, or to learn about innovative outreach initiatives to spark your own outreach efforts, then the annual meeting is definitely the place to be. For the second year, SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) has put together a custom schedule to highlight the wide variety of sessions, meetings, and events that feature outreach- and advocacy-related content. View the schedule here, and be sure to add some of these offerings to your custom schedule! Some highlights include…

Carpe Media! Communications and Media Training for Archivists
This limited-enrollment, full-day workshop during ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018 is tailored to archivists and record managers with a goal of instilling in participants the confidence to be better communicators. Workshop leader Jason Steinhauer, who is well-grounded in the unique elements of the archival profession, provides attendees with tips and tools to bolster public outreach; stimulate public interest in archives, history, and the humanities; and implement strategies to reach STEM-driven media and audiences by applying the principles of the emerging field of history communication to your own work. Though enrollment for this workshop is closed, you can look forward to hearing from SAA, COPA, and workshop attendees about the results of the workshop–including a recap post to be published on ArchivesAWARE!

Archives on the Hill Event
Archivists take on Capitol Hill in this advocacy event that begins with orientation and training in the morning and culminates in Hill visits that pair experienced advocates with those who want to learn. Speak up in support of federal funding for archives! For more information on this event, read this post by the Committee on Public Policy (COPP) Chair, Dennis Riley, on the Off the Record blog.

Information Tables
COPA will be joining other SAA appointed groups and related archival organizations at the informational tables on the Mezzanine Level of the conference hotel. Stop by the COPA table to learn about a variety of outreach-related initiatives including the ArchivesAWARE blog, #AskAnArchivst Day (OCTOBER 3, 2018), Federal Funding Impact Stories, and plans for a SAA Speakers’ Bureau, among others.

A Finding Aid to My Soul…
COPA presents “A Finding Aid To My Soul,” an open-mic storytelling session celebrating the diversity and commonality of the archivist experience. Storytellers will have five minutes to share true stories about their unique, moving, serendipitous, mysterious, special, and often humorous encounters in the archives (no props, please). Sign up in advance or during the conference for a chance to share your story, or simply sit back and enjoy the tales of your colleagues in what promises to be an engaging and entertaining event. There will even be a few special guests. A panel of judges selected from the audience will determine the top storytellers and prizes will be awarded. For more information about this new and unique annual meeting event, read last week’s ArchivesAWARE blog post by COPA Chair, Chris Burns.

Know of other outreach- and advocacy-related sessions, events, and general happenings taking place next week that didn’t make our schedule? Tell us in the comments below, or let us know which of these and other annual meeting events you are most looking forward to!

Federal Funding Impact Story #9

Project: Collections and Facility Assessment and Planning

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“The Price We Paid: An Anthology of the Desegregation of Mississippi State College for Women” was created in 2016 as part of the Those Who Dared event series commemorating the 50th anniversary of desegregation. This project is the product of a significant collaboration between the MUW Archives and the History, Political Science, and Geography Department at MUW.

Granting Agency: Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
Grant Program: Collections Assessment for Preservation Program
Institution: Mississippi University for Women
State: Mississippi
Congressional District: 1st Mississippi Congressional District
Grant Period: April 2013-March 2014
Award Amount: $7,190

Project Description
The Conservation Assessment Program funds a collections conservator and a facility conservator to visit a repository or 2-3 days, identify problem areas, and develop an action plan for the institution.

What was the need for the grant?
The archives had been dormant for several decades before hiring an archivist in 2012. It was in very poor shape, with extensive water and mold damage to the records, poor facility conditions (it was left in a vacant building with no climate or pest control), and little access for potential researchers. We were hoping to bring in some professionals to give us a sense of where to start and what to prioritize in bringing the archives back online.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
This project ultimately allowed us to preserve and provide access to our collections on the first publicly-funded women’s college in the United States. Subsequent research by students in our collections has revealed insights into subjects like racial integration at southern institutions, and early women’s education in the United States, which has led to public programming and discussion in the community.

The grant allowed us to bring two conservators to campus for several days. The priorities they developed with us served as a road map to saving the materials in the archives, which is now in a better facility, with better conditions, and is used by students every semester for class research projects.

Submission by: Derek Webb, Special Collections Librarian/University Archivist, Mississippi University for Women
Image credit to Mississippi University for Women.

Federal Funding Impact Story #8

Project: The Cybernetics Thought Collective: A History of Science and Technology Portal Project

Granting Agency: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
Grant Program:  Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Institutions: University of Illinois Archives, British Library, American Philosophical Society, and MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections
State: Illinois
Congressional District: 13th Illinois Congressional District
Grant Period: May 2017-2018
Award Amount: $49, 973
Institutional Match Amount: $34,976

Jobs Created:
– 1 PTE 20 hr/week position for 6 months
– 1 PTE for 20 hr/week position for 10 months.

Project Description
University of Illinois Archives, British Library, American Philosophical Society, and MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections have been awarded a grant from the NEH to develop a prototype web-portal and analysis-engine to provide access to archival material related to the development of the iconic, multi-disciplinary field of cybernetics. The grant is part of the NEH’s Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Foundations program.

“The Cybernetics Thought Collective: A History of Science and Technology Portal Project,” is a collaborative effort among four institutions that maintain archival records vital to the exploration of cybernetic history. In addition to supporting the development of a web-portal and analysis-engine, the award will enable the multi-institutional team to begin digitizing some of the archival records related to the pioneering work of U of I Electrical Engineering professors Heinz von Foerster and W. Ross Ashby, neurophysiologist Warren S. McCulloch, and mathematician Norbert Wiener.

What was the need for the grant?
The participating institutions sought federal grant funds in order to unite the personal archives of Heinz von Foerster, W. Ross Ashby, Warren S. McCulloch, and Norbert Wiener in a digital platform and thus create broader access for an international community of scholars studying the history and legacy of cybernetics.

Cybernetics, the science of communication and control systems, is generally regarded as one of the most influential scientific movements of the 20th century. At a time when postwar science had become highly compartmentalized, cybernetics epitomized the interdisciplinarity that has become emblematic of innovative research in the modern era. This project will provide greater access to the archival materials that document the rich and complex history of the “thought collective”—the scientific community of individuals exchanging thoughts and ideas about cybernetics.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
This project will draw greater visibility to the holdings of the four participating institutions. Cybernetics has influenced the development of a variety of disciplines, such as cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and computer science; being able to create broader access to archival materials that document this foundational multi-disciplinary movement will enable scholars to better study the evolution of these disciplines. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in particular, the project has spurred local interest and related initiatives to investigate the ways in which the Midwest, and central Illinois in particular, have contributed to the modern technological era.

Nationally and internationally, the project enables the four institutions to form a partnership that unites related archival material that is geographically dispersed. We hope creating online access to these digitized materials will make them more accessible to scholars who aren’t able to travel to the repositories where these materials are held.

NEH funding for this project will enable the four institutions to digitize and create access to approximately 20 cubic feet of archival material initially. The project team will use the results from the prototype analysis-engine and prototype portal development to inform future work and hopefully a second phase of the project that includes other repositories with related archival material.

Submission by: Bethany Anderson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Federal Funding Impact Story #7

Project: Finding Common Ground: Cooperative Training for the Cultural and Emergency Response Communities

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Granting Agency: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
Grant Program: Division of Preservation and Access, Education and Training
Institution: Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC)
State: Massachusetts
Congressional District: 8th Massachusetts Congressional District
Grant Period: January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2018
Award Amount: $196,696
Institutional Match Amount: $253,096

Jobs Created:
– Project Coordinator (1 FTE for 24 months)
– Will hire instructors from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (number and amount of time  has yet to be determined)

Project Description
Disasters can affect and disrupt people’s lives, severely impact continuity of functions at all levels of government, and jeopardize the very existence of our nation’s humanities collections, cultural institutions, and historic sites and properties. Until recently, there was little communication, cooperation, or collaboration between the cultural heritage community and the emergency responder community in addressing cultural heritage concerns both before and after disasters.

What do we mean by the emergency responder community? They include the fire department; the police/sheriff’s department; local, county, tribal, and state emergency management officials; emergency medical technicians; the local emergency planning committee; the public works department; the mayor or community administrator’s office; and even the National Guard and the Coast Guard. By bringing both communities together to learn from each other at the local level, we can effect the inclusion of cultural heritage in municipal risk assessment, mitigation planning, response to, and recovery from a disaster. It is time that both communities come together to recognize that once life safety has been addressed following a disaster, the health and welfare of a municipality depend on the recovery and vitality of all sectors of a community, including cultural heritage.

To address these issues at the local level and to serve as a pilot at the national level, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), the state library agency – in partnership with COSTEP MA (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts), the Massachusetts Archives, the New England Museum Association, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS) – proposes a two-year, statewide, preparedness-and-response training project for cultural heritage and emergency responder personnel. The training package developed will be shared nationally with other states’ fire service and cultural heritage institutions. The partners, working closely with the project director and coordinator, will adapt, create, and present a series of five workshops on the following topics: risk assessment and mitigation, disaster planning (in two parts), disaster response, and salvage. Each of the first three workshops will be presented five times at locations across the Commonwealth.  Due to the nature of the live fire demonstration and salvage exercises, the last two sessions will be held at the two Department of Fire Services campuses in eastern and western Massachusetts. A session on the basics of preservation will be offered in an asynchronous format for all participants to complete ahead of the in-person workshops.

NEH funds will be used to hire a project coordinator; adapt and develop course materials for both the face-to-face and online presentations; present the workshops; cover consultant fees, travel, and supplies; and develop and convene train-the-trainer sessions for instructors. These sessions will introduce potential instructors to the purpose – to develop the foundation for consistent message and high-quality training – the content, and the available tools for the full course.

What was the need for the grant?
We wanted to address the problem of cultural institutions being left out of responses following disasters. By obtaining federal funds we are able to work closely with the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy to coordinate training between the cultural heritage organizations and the firefighters in an 18-month training program that will enable people from both communities in the same municipality to train and work together. The eventual impact is better communication and protection for the cultural heritage organizations and the development of the workshops into an online course to be distributed nationally.

What has been the primary impact of this project?
Eventually, we hope that this will bring the cultural heritage community and the firefighting/emergency management communities together to protect our cultural and historic patrimony before, during, and after disasters. The aim is to involve at least 200 members of the two communities to work together throughout the course as trained in the five offerings of the first three workshops (risk assessment, disaster planning I and disaster planning II (tabletop exercises) and at the two final ones (a live burn and salvage).

Submission by: Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Preservation Specialist, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

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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