The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
June 9 is Ask Archivists Day
June the 9th is AskArchivists Day: a day organized by the International Council on Archives to encourage you to ask professional archivists all over the world all of those burning questions about about their profession and about the collections in archives you've always wanted answered.
Later this week, on Thursday, June 9th, archivists from all over the world will be available on Twitter to answer your questions. Smithsonian experts, Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig (the Archives' own Electronic Archivist) and Rachael Woody (archivist at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Archives) will be participating in the event on the @Smithsonian Twitter feed. Simply come on over to the Smithsonian Twitter feed starting at 9 am EST on June 9th, and ask your own questions by tweeting an "at" reply to the Smithsonian (@Smithsonian) and adding the hashtag #AskArchivists to your question (in 140 characters or less, of course!).
What should you ask our Smithsonian archivists? Well first, an overview of what the various Smithsonian archives have to offer:
- The Smithsonian has roughly 15 archives. Without them, questions would go unanswered, histories would remain untold, and new discoveries would be difficult to uncover. The Smithsonian’s archival collections preserve and make available meaningful documentation in the form of original letters, data, research files, diaries, scrapbooks, rare printed materials, business records, photographs, maps, motion picture films, video and audio recordings, and other documents. They form the foundation for research, scholarship, publications, exhibitions, public and educational programs, and outreach.
- The Smithsonian has more than has more than 28,000 linear feet and more than 87,000 cubic feet of materials across the Institution, and 1.8 million library volumes (Source: Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA).
- Why are the Smithsonian’s archives important? The Smithsonian’s archives are not only the keepers of the Smithsonian’s history—they also keep a record of America’s history. By looking into them we not only learn about the Smithsonian, we uncover something about ourselves as Americans.
And if you're interested in learning more about what it is that archivists do before AskArchivists Day, why not check out some of our blog posts on the subject:
And finally, check out all of the participating archives for AskArchivists Day. We look forward to talking to you on Thursday, June 9th!