The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Recently I was asked "What are some of the challenges you face in your work as an archivist?" One of the first things that came to mind is the challenge of effectively communicating the Archives’ needs and procedures with the people I serve at the Smithsonian. At the Archives we collect, preserve, and make accessible the records that document the history of the Smithsonian. To help us accomplish our mission we ask people to follow a number of steps to prepare their records for transfer to the Archives.
One of these steps is for people to place their materials into the acid-free records storage boxes we provide to them. For ease of shipment and storage, the boxes are delivered flat and need to be put together. Over the years I have seen them assembled in a variety of creative ways, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. While I try my best to communicate to people how to properly assemble our boxes, even with my best verbal guidance and descriptions, sometimes it seems as if a visual guide might be more helpful. So to clear up the confusion, I have put together a short instructional video of how to build an acid-free records storage box. Please enjoy, and feel free to pass along to others in the archival community who might find it useful.