The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Effie Kapsalis Wins the Smithsonian Secretary’s Innovative Spirit Award
Just this past week Effie Kapsalis, the Archives’ own Head of Web, New Media, & Outreach, won the Smithsonian Secretary’s Innovative Spirit Award at the third annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.
Secretary Clough and a pan-Institutional committee recognized Effie for all of her incredible work at the Archives. From spearheading the Archives’ recent involvement with Historypin, a website that allows institutions and individual to geo-tag and pin historic photos on Google maps; to managing the Smithsonian Flickr Commons, Effie is at the center of efforts at the Archives and the broader Smithsonian to get our resources, stories, and collections online.
Her projects have always yielded surprising and wonderful results. Recent efforts at the Archives to crowdsource the identities of people and places on the Flickr Commons led to really meaningful relationships with you, our readers and visitors, as well as:
- multiple identifications of photograph locations,
- wonderful stories about mysteries solved and relatives found in images on the Commons,
- a deeper understanding of historical events (like the famous Scopes Monkey trial) from our audiences' firsthand accounts of these events,
- and even a donation of new photographs to the Archives from someone who appreciated the fact that the Archives was making our collections available to all online.
In addition to these projects, Effie has been involved in multiple pan-Smithsonian web efforts to increase engagement with online visitors and to make our data more open. She has been recognized for her efforts both inside and outside (for example, in a recent New York Times article) of the Smithsonian.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the Archives’ incredible staff, who tease out the narratives behind our collections in their day to day work, and tell these stories both here on The Bigger Picture, and in their daily interactions with the public; and without our director, Anne Van Camp, who supports all of the efforts of the Web and New Media team. Congratulations to everyone at the Archives, and congratulations to you, Effie—we’re so proud of you!