Thursday, August 27, 2009

Archvial Practicum Blog August 26 2009

Week: Aug. 24, 2009
I started my practicum on Monday. Whew, what a whirlwind of a week.

I spent Monday at the Nebraska State Historical Society (NSHS), and after a brief review of basic procedures for processing papers, I and Tom Mooney (Curator of Manuscripts) had an impromptu meeting. Tom explained that since my internship at NSHS in 2001, things had changed in the world of archives. The changes that would effect my practicum were described, he said, in an article by Mark A. Greene and Dennis Meissner entitled "More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing," (2005). In essence finding aids and collection description have become more streamlined and contain less formal arrangement of information (more use folder names in place of series).
I thought that the changes made sence because they will allow institutions to get more items ready for use by researchers both in manuscript collections and online.
After my talk with Tom, I started processing a small collection (RG5666 AM/Pi Tau Delta Fraternity/ Lincoln, Neb.). I found a number of interesting items in the collection. One of the most interesting items were letters from the fraternity's alumni who were serving in WWII.

About 5:00 pm, I left the NSHS and went to the Malone Community Center to look over the collection that I would be processing there. I found the materials stored in a utility closet (the safest place during the center's roof renovation project). The director and his staff agreed to move the items to a small conference room where I could work on them for the duration of the semester.

On Wednesday, I returned to the Malone Center. I had hoped Tom would be able to come for a site visit but he had to reschedule. I looked over the center's collection and created a list of supplies that I would need to complete the processing. I came up with an itemized list and sent it to all persons connected with the project including the NSHS and the Malone Center Director. I did this because I am hoping that both entities will share the costs for the supplies that I need (30 document boxes, 100-200 acid free file folders, 4 scrap boxes, photograph sleeves, 20 photograph boxes, 5 artifact boxes). I then contacted Preservation Products, gave them the list, and requested an estimate.
I returned to the collection and moved the boxes of photographs together, and the boxes of manuscript (AM) materials together.

Soon, I received a guest from the NSHS. John Carter came to look over the collection and surveyed the space. We discussed the idea idea of creating an archive that would focus on African American collections. We also talked about the Great Plains Black Museum in Omaha, and how the Malone Center Collection might conceivably be merged with that collection some day.