National Archives Month – A Minnesota perspective

 

We are the only species on the planet, so far as we know, to have invented a communal memory stored neither in our genes nor in our brains. The warehouse of this memory is called the library― Carl Sagan

 As National Archives Month 2017 enters the annals of history, it seems like a good time to delve into a mix of archival collections designed to pique the interest of Minnesotans- not because they’re writing a doctoral dissertation or going to court, simply because they love to learn about people, events and stories that weren’t in the curriculum.

Though you may have read everything there is to know about the professional contributions of Gratia Countryman, a picture is worth a thousand words:   http://digitalcollections.hclib.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/GCountryman?_ga=2.217022102.1812135875.1508609902-1599511560.1497032955

The photo is one of thousands of archival records preserved and made accessible through the Hosmer Collection maintained at the Minneapolis Central Library.  Celebrate National Archives Month by treating yourself to a leisurely learning break at Special Collections, 4th floor of the Minneapolis Library:   http://www.hclib.org/specialcollections Visit the Athenaeum (http://www.hclib.org/about/locations/minneapolis-athenaeum) and take time to experience the exhibits of treasures mined from the archives.

The University of Minnesota Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries are world renowned by scholars yet sometimes a bit beyond the reach of the rest of us.  Fortunately, the Libraries are “metaphorically” opening the archives doors in wonderful ways, including, for example:

  • The Children’s Literature Research Collections (aka the Kerlan) embraces the digital possibilities with publication of   Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media.  The unique resource brings to life the works of over 65 artists whose work is based on primary sources held in the Kerlan Collection of the University of Minnesota’s Archives and Special Collections. (https://z.umn.edu/digital) — (https://www.lib.umn.edu/special)
  • The Minnesota Nice series. First Fridays talks about the holdings and happenings in the U of M archives.  Beginning in 2018 here are the scheduled sessions – all free and open, Noon at the Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120.
  • In-depth public lectures and discussions of specific archival collections, such as this forthcoming discussion of the work of James Wright. James Wright: A Life in Poetry is a sweeping biography by Jonathan Blunk, based on extensive research by Blunk in the James Wright Papers, held at the U of M Libraries’ Upper Midwest Literary Archives.(https://www.lib.umn.edu/mss) Note: Reading and discussion of James Wright on Monday, December 4, 7:00 PM at the Elmer L. Andersen Library.( https://www.continuum.umn.edu/event/james-wright-life-poetry/)

National Archives month 2017 is an opportunity for each of us to seriously reflect on the unique and essential role of archives in the digital age.  Archives are everywhere, not only in majestic buildings that bear the name but in local government agencies, public libraries, colleges, places of worship, corporations, nonprofit organizations and myriad other settings. Their efforts are our best and only defense against alternative facts.

One way to get a sense of the expanse of the state’s myriad archival collections is not only easy but seasonal: Clear your calendar, settle into an easy chair, turn off your cell, then click on this “work-in-progress:  Minnesota Reflections (http://reflections.mndigital.org/about).

Archivists work in a complex and collaborative way to meet the information needs of diverse users – from scholars to genealogists to inventors to journalists and curious Minnesotans of every stripe.  To share resources and opportunities to learn, archivists shape networks of various stripes.  The collaborative that links a mix of archives and archivists in this area is the Twin Cities Archivists Roundtable (https://tcartmn.org/about/ (aka T-CART).  T-CART and guests will be meeting this month (https://tcartmn.org/minnesota-archives-symposium/)   The T-Cart website lists the names and contact information for several related archives and archivist networks, including these:

To underscore the urgency of archival awareness and the imperative to tend to preservation of the public record was less worrisome in October 2011 when Archives Month warranted this comparatively frivolous post. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1078&action=edit 2011

And just to add a bit of flourish to the topic, let it be known that Tom Hanks has been named recipient of the National Archives Foundation Records of Achievement Award.

https://www.archivesfoundation.org/news/tom-hanks-receive-national-archives-foundation-records-achievement-award/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tom-hanks-history-national-archives-foundation_us_59ec777ce4b0958c46829e72)

Enjoy this Halloween greeting  from the U of M Archives https://www.continuum.umn.edu/2017/10/underwater-pumpkin-carving-bio-medical-library/?utm_source=continuum+-+News+from+University+of+Minnesota+Libraries&utm_campaign=6d189433b6News_from_RSSFEED_TITLE_for_RSSFEED_DATE_3_17_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_35496412ca-6d189433b6-174925501

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.