Archives Month Idea Session Recap

31 Jul 2012 7:30 PM | Anonymous member

On 19 July, 10 people gathered at the Union League Club of Chicago to brainstorm ways to promote their collections and services during Archives Month. A lively discussion about on-site and virtual options resulted in a variety of ideas, including:

  • Create a myth-busing video that uses primary sources in the collections to refute (or verify) stories about an organization’s history. Universities and members organizations can use students and members, respectively, as actors and for other support in making and promoting the video.
  • Host an artifacts and family papers care day. Invite a conservator to consult with patrons and the public about their personal items.
  • Create a listening station where people can stop by and listen to sound recordings from the collections. Doing this in person is an opportunity for patrons to see original objects (e.g., wax cylinders) and engage you in a conversation about them. You can also create a virtual experience with streaming audio or downloads and show still images.
  • Contact local media and talk up a particularly interesting donation or sound recording for a local interest story.
  • Facilitate visits by students who are participating in National History Day. The 2013 theme is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.” With a little help from you, the Chicago Metro History Education Center can help make teachers and students aware of collections with material that might relate to this year’s theme.
  • Post a show slideshow of your favorite photographs or artifacts on your organization's internet. Make staff in other departments aware of and interested in your collections and services by sharing a few of the things that excite the archives staff.

Do you have other ideas? Share them below in the comments section. All outreach ideas for all times of year are welcome.

Other resources and ideas that can help you plan an Archives Month activity that is suitable for your institution are listed below. You can add to this list by posting in the comments section.

  • Society of American Archivists
    Provides ideas and practical tips on developing programs for Archives Month and enhancing your collections public awareness. You can also explore what other archives are doing for Archives Month and public awareness.
  • Society of Ohio Archivists
    Includes suggestions on Archives Month activities as well as a list of past events.
  • Wisconsin Historical Society
    Consists of Open House tool kits (including templates for press releases, signs, and invitations), program ideas, an event calendar, and access to past Archives Month ideas.
  • Council on State Archivists
    A resource for how state archives celebrate Archives Months; includes a directory of past events.
  • Sacramento Archives Crawl
    Sacramento Archives Crawl is an annual Archives Month event that takes place the first Saturday in October. Participants tour among four host archives in Sacramento, gathering stamps in their passports as they view treasures from dozens of archives and special collections libraries, visit with archivists, and go on special behind-the-scenes tours.
  • 31 Day Blogathon
    To celebrate Archives Month 2011, Archives throughout the Smithsonian Institution participated in a month-long Blogathon, with posts highlighting stories from the archives as well as challenges and issues facing archives.

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