In the fall of 2014 SAA at U of M decided to celebrate archives month a little differently. We reached out to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and organized an Archives Blitz. Similar to an event the Yellowstone National Park Archives began hosting this year, the idea is to bring in a group of people to an archive that traditionally does not have access to a large staff or consistent volunteer base. This group will work on important projects for a proscribed period of time (i.e. a week) and make a huge impact in a relatively short amount of time.
Our chapter took this idea and adjusted it to fit the graduate students studying archives and records management. Working with the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, this student chapter organized a four hour event where archives students could put their knowledge and skills to use while also giving back to an institution in the community. Students divided up to work on a number of different projects. During the four event, students managed to create 3 finding aids for existing collections, improved the information available about the locations and descriptions of over 20,000 photographs and negatives, and created an inventory of about 40 maps, documenting both their condition and dimensions (ranging from a few inches to over 30 ft long!). Students also worked to appraise 7 linear feet of newly acquisitioned materials and provided a preliminary inventory and suggestions for how to proceed with processing those materials.
A truly impressive amount of work was accomplished during this event. The event was deemed a success by both students and the Collections Manager of the Kelsey Museum and the two groups are working to organize further Archives Blitzes in the future.