The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Archives Month
It's time again to celebrate all the wonderful things archives have and do! The Society of American Archivists declares each October American Archives Month and the Smithsonian theme for this year is "Discover and Connect." At the Smithsonian Institution Archives, we handle over 6000 reference requests per year and have an ambitious digitization plan to serve people worldwide through our website. This past year alone, over 380,000 people accessed our resources online.
Archivists and conservators at the Smithsonian are top-notch, and to celebrate the occasion, we make them available to you for an entire day to answer your questions about preserving your own collections. Our 4th Facebook Q&A will be held on October 27th, from 10am-4pm EST, on the Smithsonian's Facebook page. Four of our staff members will be there with skills in a/v, digital, and paper archives. Here's the line-up:
- Joe Hursey, National Museum of American History's Archives Center, Reference Coordinator
- Michael Pahn, National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center, Head Archivist (A/V specialty)
- Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Electronic Records Archivist
- Dave Walker, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives, Audio Digitization Specialist
Also check out past Q&A's to see if your question has already been answered!
There are several other ways to connect with the Smithsonian's 16 archives this month:
- Blog's across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at collections and practices.
- If you're a Pinterest fan, check out the Smithsonian's October is Archives Month board.
- Archivists across the Smithsonian will share sound, video, and film on the Smithsonian AV Archivists Tumblr.
- Digital volunteers can explore and help us transcribe letters, diaries, and field books on the SI Transcription Center.
- And if you're local to DC, a selection of artists' diaries from the Archives of American Art is on exhibit in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery in Washington, D.C. 11:30am-7pm daily.
We'd love to have you participate in any way you can. Three cheers for archives!
In celebration of Archives Month, tomorrow (Tuesday, October 29th) from 10am to 5pm ET, four archivists specializing in audio/visual material, photos, and digital objects (or electronic records), together with a paper conservator will be on the Smithsonian's Facebook page to answer questions about your own archives. Questions from our readers in the past have ranged from how to become an archivist, to dealing with mold, to preserving a recipe archive, to dealing with digital photo archives.
Here are the folks who will be on-hand to answer your questions:
Jennifer Morris is the Archivist at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. She oversees archival processing, cataloguing, and reference services. She has an interest in the care and preservation of family papers and community archives. She earned a BA in Anthropology from the University of Maryland and a MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.
Nora Lockshin is a Paper Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and conserves physical objects and consults on preservation goals with archivists, collection managers, and curators at the Archives and throughout the larger Smithsonian archival and museum community. She runs the Smithsonian Center for Archives Conservation, a service and teaching laboratory of Smithsonian Institution Archives Collections Care team.
Michael Pahn is a Media Archivist, specializing in audio, video, and motion picture film, at the National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, a position he has held since 2003. He has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and an MLS from the University of Maryland.
Marguerite Roby is the Photograph Archivist at Smithsonian Institution Archives and manages several large photographic collections. Her work involves establishing intellectual and physical control over these collections as well as contributing efforts towards digitization and the management of digitized assets.
Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, Electronic Records Archivist at the Smithsonian Institution Archives since 2005, specializes in preserving born-digital materials that include images, audio, video, websites, and email from across the Smithsonian. Her work involves using tools and creating methods that help digital objects remain accessible in the future.
We hope that you’ll join us on Facebook tomorrow, and we look forward to your questions! See other events happening at the Smithsonian related to Archives Month.
As you may know from recent mentions of the project, the Smithsonian Institution Archives recently partnered with the National Museum of Natural History’s Department of Botany to locate and catalog field research materials on biodiversity at the Smithsonian, and share that information with the public. The resulting Field Book Project was born, and we now have some of the fruits of our labor to share with you.
First, our Flickr fans will be eager to know that recently scanned images have been added to a new set on the Flickr Commons: Albert Spear Hitchcock Field Books. Hitchcock was a botanist and expert on grasses, and this set features photographs he took while researching and collecting specimens for the Smithsonian in Asia, South America, and the southern United States between 1918 and 1924. These images are from the Smithsonian Institution Archives’ Record Unit 229, United States National Museum, Division of Grasses Records, and include some interesting subject matter, like wacky plants from Equador and workmen making salt in China.
Additionally, members of the field book team at the Smithsonian, as well as partnership institutions, have created a Field Book Project blog to keep you updated on new scans and additions to the project (like these recent photos of Smithsonian employees shipping animals from South America back to the National Zoo). The Archives will be eager highlight new developments on THE BIGGER PICTURE as the project progresses, and we encourage you to subscribe to the Field Book Project blog to get updates as well. And finally, a big congratulations to the Field Book team and others across the Smithsonian who are working on this pan-Institutional project, and a thank you to the Field Book Project partners, who have made it all possible.
November is here and the leaves seem to finally be changing, which heralds the end of October is American Archives Month. Our 31-day Blogathon was a smashing success, garnering about 10,000 visits, and even though Archives month has come to a close, we will continue to post about our profession, our stories, and our wonderfully unique treasures. In addition to the 31-day Blogathon, we held an Archives Fair on October 22nd that was equally successful. Consisting of information tables from archival units across the institution, an all day lecture series, and an Ask the Smithsonian area where conservators and archivists made recommendations for the preservation and care of your own memories, the Archives Fair allowed us to celebrate our profession in a public forum. Attendance, both physical and online (for the streaming lecture series) reached about 1100 visitors. The archived webcast of the lecture series is now available in case you weren't able to see them in person. A few of the presentation presentations are also available on Slide Share. Also check out Closing October is American Archives Month, a post by one of the main organizers of our Archives Month activities that reflects on the origins and purpose of our events this past month. We hope to continue the tradition of holding an Archives Fair, but will certainly persist in our efforts to share our expertise with the public here on The Bigger Picture and in our Smithsonian Institution sister blogs. Thanks to those who joined us throughout the month, and if you’re a new visitor, welcome, we have lots to share with you.
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