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.
With officer positions in the UMSI student orgs transitioning each year to a new batch of officers, keeping organized records has proved enormously challenging. That’s why the SAA officers organized a Records Dive, an opportunity for officers of students orgs to gather together and figure out the mess that was most of our records. SAA officers provided some tips on best practices for naming conventions and foldering (shout out to SI 528), while groups also shared their methods with each other. Feedback from this event was very positive and there was a definite interest expressed in repeating this event in the future.
For my UMSI internship I worked as an intern at the Yellowstone National Park Archives. This was an absolutely amazing experience where I lived, learned, and worked Yellowstone National Park for ten weeks. Yellowstone was amazingly beautiful and so much bigger than I had previously thought. It is an all day trip to drive around the park in its entirety!
I lived in the northern part of the park called Mammoth Hot Springs, but the archive is in Gardiner, a town just outside of the northern entrance of the park. The archives are housed in the Heritage and Research Center (HRC) which also contains the research library, museum collection, and herbarium.
My primary duties/projects included processing collections, giving tours to visitors, and working reference. Many of the reference requests involved tracking down relatives who worked in the park over the past 100+ years. Since the Yellowstone Archives is also an affiliate of the National Archives it was very interesting to learn about and use a number of added security measures when providing researchers with records. I was fortunate to work on a number of additional projects though, including creating a work flow for an upcoming digitization project and writing blog posts.
This being an internship at a National Park, my work was not restricted to just indoor activities. The Research Library has a bookmobile deliver books to employees stationed around the park that I drove with the library intern each month, this takes a full 10 hour work day to complete. A number of field trips were also set-up throughout the summer for the HRC employees and interns to visit historical sites and museums about the park’s history.
I’m excited to be the Reilly Intern at the Cline Library. My family and I arrived in Flagstaff a week ago after bicycling from Ann Arbor, Michigan–where I’m a Masters student at the School of Information–to Colorado. We drove the rest of the way.
This week, I’ve begun planning Special Collections and Archives’ 2014 exhibit showcasing John Running, freelance photographer from Flagstaff. To get inspired for the exhibit design, I’ve been listening to John Running’s oral history interview with Jonathan Pringle and Jess Vogelsang. Running has had an amazing life; for over forty years, he’s traveled and photographed around the Southwest, the United States and internationally, in Trinidad, Palestine, Mexico and Scotland. I’m eager to delve into representing his life and work in the exhibit. As a photographer of people, Running believes making a portrait is a gift; as a documentarian, he believes one must “try to photograph the truth and present it honestly.” He approaches his subjects with humility, grace, and kindness, which come through in his images. I was pleased to meet him in person and found him to be just as kind and gracious in person. He’s also a great story-teller. I will work to infuse his approach to photography into this exhibit.
I’m really honored to be here working on this project and am thrilled to be in Flagstaff. I look forward to exploring the city and surroundings, as well as learning more about Running’s life, career, and photographs.
I’ve only had time to scratch the surface of his collection, but here are a few of my favorites so far…