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FROM THE CHAIR
First off . ARCHIVES FAIR 2002 : The Annual DC Caucus Archives Fair will be held on October 10, 2002 at the Ripley Center of the Smithsonian Institution. The event is free and open to the public and that means YOU and your closest friends and neighbors! The event will run from 12 noon until 7pm.
Thomas Battle, director
of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University will
be this years lecturer. He will discuss the challenges of collecting
material that documents African-American history. Battles talk
will be followed by a panel discussion of the problems with and progress
in collecting African-American archival material. The panelists will
be Doris Rich, author of Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviate;
Paul Silbermann of the National Air and Space Museum, who is
the processing archivist of the Benjamin O. Davis Jr. papers; and
Judith Korey, curator of the Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives at
the University of the District of Columbia. The lecture will be
held in the Lecture Hall of the Ripley Center at 2:30pm.
The repositories participating
in the 2002 DC Caucus/MARAC Archives Fair include:
Archives of American Art, SI; Archives of American
Gardens, SI; Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives; Corcoran Archives;
District of Columbia Public Library - Washingtoniana Division, Goodwill
Archives; George Washington University; Howard University, Historical
Society of Washington DC, Moorland Springarn Research Center; Marine
Corps Research Center; National Academy of Sciences; National Air
and Space Museum Archives Division, SI; National Archives and Records
Administration; National Museum of Health and Medicine; University
of Maryland; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division; American Red
Cross; National Anthropology Archives, SI; Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives,
University of the District of Columbia; National Museum of American
History, SI; George Mason University Special Collections & Archives;
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, SI; United Methodist
Church; U.S. Senate Historical Office and the Architect of the Capitol;
Historical Society of Washington DC; Smithsonian Institution Archives;
and the Defense Technical Information Center.
I hope to see a lot of
you in Poughkeepsie, New York at the MARAC Fall 2002 Conference.
It will be held October 24-26, 2002 at the Grand Hotel and
is a joint meeting with the New England Archivists (NEA). The
theme of the conference is "A New Deal for Archivists: The Expanding
Scope and Content of Archival Repositories. Details on the conference
can be found on the MARAC website - www.lib.umd.edu/MARAC/maraccon.htm:
The Thursday schedule will be as usual with workshops, tours,
committee meetings, and the hospitality suite. On Friday morning,
MARAC members will have a continental breakfast, the caucus meetings,
and the business meeting. After the mid-day luncheon, the program
proper will begin with an afternoon of sessions; an evening reception
will follow. On Saturday morning there will be more program sessions.
The luncheon speaker will be Dr. Edward Tenner, author of Why
Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art is undertaking an NHPRC-funded project to transcribe, annotate, index, and publish the journals of the Gallery's first director/curator, William MacLeod (1811-1892).
The journals are a unique and valuable series of volumes that are not only important to the history of American art, but also to Washington history, museum studies, administrative history, and American studies. Comprised of 2,300 handwritten pages, they offer a detailed look at the day-to-day administration of the Gallery from 1876 to 1884 and during 1886. Their breadth of detail on non-administrative subjects - such as historical events and Washington society -make them an invaluable resource for researchers investigating the development of cultural institutions, the role of art education, the status of women in the arts, and various topics beyond the field of art history.
The journals provide a daily record of MacLeods administration of the Gallery, one of the three oldest continuously operating art museums in the United States (after the Wadsworth Athenaeum and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts). MacLeods entries contain his comments on a wide variety of subjects related to the Gallerys operation, including the artists, patrons, and art dealers who visited the building, acquisitions, the formation of the Corcoran School of Art, correspondence, and Washington society. MacLeod also recorded his personal observations.
The breadth of commentary offered in the entries make the journals an invaluable source of information on 19th-century American art and artists. MacLeod mentions nearly every painter of note active before 1900, including Albert Bierstadt, Richard Norris Brooke, Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Sully, Thomas Cole, William Trost Richards, Charles Willson Peale, Titian Peale, George P. A. Healy, Emmanuel Leutze, Robert Swain Gifford, Daniel Huntington, Frederick Kensett, and Thomas Moran.
Project staff will include Curator Emeritus of the Corcoran Gallery, Linda Simmons, Corcoran Archivist Marisa Bourgoin, and an assistant editor. Work on the project will begin as soon as the assistant editor position has be filled.
The project will employ an expanded text transcription method. Emendations such as the standardization of datelines, paragraph indentations, and some common contractions and abbreviations will be made silently, but will be listed and explained in the introductory matter. The annotation policy will allow for extensive, but not exhaustive, elaboration of those entries that relate specifically to American art and the Corcoran Gallery.
Other subjects will receive limited annotation. For example, the transcription will include citations for works of art mentioned in the Journals as having been exhibited at the Corcoran. Wherever possible, annotations will record the present location of those objects and if possible, information on title, artist, medium, dimensions, and current owner. Works of art that are now or were once in the Corcoran's collection or were submitted for exhibition by the artist or owner will be indicated in footnotes.
Publishing the journals
as a book that provides context and explanatory texts will make this
comprehensive resource more widely available to scholars, students,
and others researchers in a multitude of disciplines. The annotations,
appendices, illustrations, and editorial matter will add new dimensions
to their utility. Using the published edition, researchers will be
able to consult a biographical directory for information on someone
mentioned in the text, or find his or her birth dates in the appropriate
index entry; examine an illustration of a painting described in an
entry; or consult the subject index and consult the next entry on
a similar topic.
- FEATURES -
Moving the NAA Out to Suitland, MD
When the National Anthropological
Archives (NAA) began planning for its move of 10, 000 linear feet
of collections, nearly a ½ million photographs (including 10,000
glass plate negatives), and 20,000 maps from the National Museum of
Natural History (NMNH) on the Mall to the Museum Support Center (MSC)
in Suitland, Maryland, museum management assumed that the move would
be done internally using NMNHs Move Office and NAA staff and
volunteers. In the end, we used both professional movers and staff
to maximize use of staff time, expertise, and funding.
From the beginning, the
NAA director lobbied to ensure that the museum would devote the necessary
resources to get the job done properly. As MSC is a pest-controlled
environment, we either had to fumigate all of the collections or re-box
everything, and in the end a compromise was reached. Old and
damaged boxes were replaced and everything else was vacuumed.
While re-boxing, we took the opportunity to replace non-archival folders,
sleeve photographs and slides, and conservators flattened oversize
and rolled items. This turned out to be a larger undertaking than
anticipated, and would have been impossible without numerous volunteers
and the addition of several employees from the Move Office. One volunteer
specialized in making custom four flaps and boxes while one of the
employees from the Move office created sink mats for our broken glass
plate negatives. We also had to borrow a clean and secure
place at NMNH to house the large quantity of supplies we were ordering
for our re-housing projects.
One of my assignments was to create a space plan for NAAs new collections storage area. Starting from our existing shelf list, I revised it several times making sure to include collections not previously listed. When the shelf list was as accurate as possible, a volunteer counted the number of boxes per collection. From these counts, I estimated each collections space needs and created a space plan by assigning each collection a start location in the new space. This system worked well when time came to move the collections, as it was flexible enough to allow for shifting on the fly. I was very conservative on my space estimates and allowed for additional room periodically just in case a collection didnt pack the way I anticipated.
In September 2001, we began the trial phase of the project. Our goals were to establish a procedure and estimate the time, staff, and logistics needed to complete entire move. We selected our numbered manuscript collection, which featured boxes of all sizes and would require interfiling of boxes stored in different locations. One of the first logistical problems that we discovered was the need for a secure staging area. As NAA was closed, we were able to use our reading room but in order to do this we had to remove all the furniture. The trial move went smoothly and proved that it could be done in- house but the estimate confirmed our suspicions that without additional staff and resources the move would take upwards of 8 months to complete, assuming no that problems occurred. With this data in hand, NAA approached management with the suggestion of hiring a professional moving company to move the bulk of our holdings. NAA staff would move all glass and oversize items as well as other collections needing special treatment. NAA staff consulted with local archivists and solicited bids from four companies. We ended up selecting Office Movers, the same company used by the Special Collections Department at the University of Maryland in 2001. They seemed most familiar with and prepared to handle moving archival materials.
In anticipation of the start of the main move, NAA staff did a trial move of our glass plate negatives. We developed a system of padding the carts and drawers to minimize movement and loaded the carts on the truck with the negatives most stable edges parallel to the road. Simultaneously we began labeling and preparing the collections. Moving NAAs collections took less than 3 weeks in November 2001. The key factors in the moves success were the advance preparations by NAA and Office Movers, regular communication between the work crews at both facilities, strict supervision and control by NAA staff over the order in which collections were packed and unpacked, and an efficient, hard-working team. By having staff at both locations, NAA was able to troubleshoot problems as they occurred.
Upon completion of this
phase of the move, NAA picked up where it left off moving oversize
and glass materials. As the completion date for our remodeled offices
was pushed back several more times, it gave us some flexibility to
pack our offices and to move the remaining collections to MSC. This
move proved to be the most physically and intellectually challenging.
After stabilizing the contents of the oversize map drawers, we hand
carried the loaded drawers down one flight of stairs and placed them
on flat bed moving carts. The folders were transferred to new drawers
at MSC and the empty drawers were returned to NMNH. When in February
2002 we were given permission to move into our new space, we finalized
the layout of office equipment and packed and labeled all boxes and
equipment with its new location. The actual move of our office equipment,
files, and furniture took only two days and was carried out by a second
outside moving company. We had about two weeks to unpack and get everything
ready for our re-opening on March 12, 2002.
Lessons learned - 1) Planning is crucial but flexibility is essential. By having staff on hand at both ends of the move, we were able to catch problems and modify arrangements when necessary. 2) Hands on supervision is useful. We suffered some damage to our carts during the move of our office equipment. This might have been avoided if we had someone supervising the loading of the trucks. 3) Adequate funding is important. Without the funding from the NMNH Move Office for supplies and other items, NAAs move would not have been as successful. 4) Assume there will be delays in ordering supplies, signing contracts, and dealing with all other logistics.
-- Susan McElrath, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
2002 Upcoming Events
Through Oct 14 "Art and Economics: Sienese Paintings from the Dawn of the Financial Age," Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The 50 panel paintings and 12 related manuscripts assembled here are a tribute to the power of the popolo, the rule of citizens, rather than church or the nobility, that preceded modern democracies. These biccherne, the painted covers of the state ledgers or administrative balance sheets, provide a fascinating window into the daily life of an Italian city-state and evolving republic at the dawn of modern economic thinking. The remarkable works of art derive their name, biccherne, from the government agency that originally commissioned them.
Oct 7-8 Society
of American Archivists workshop, "Archival Cataloging as a Component
of Description;" Blacksburg, VA.
Oct 8 South Carolina
Archival Association Fall Meeting. South Carolina Department of Archives
and History, Columbia.
Oct 10 DC Caucus-MARAC Archives Fair 2002. Ripley Center, Room 3111, Smithsonian Institution, 1100 Jefferson Drive, SW, Washington D.C., 12-7pm; Lecture, 2:30pm. See attached poster in this email edition of the Quarterly for a full description.
Oct 15-18 Association
of Research Libraries Annual Meeting; Washington, D.C.
Oct 24 Society of
American Archivists workshop, "The Archivist and the Law;"
Oct 24-26 MARAC/New
England Archivists joint meeting; Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 1 Deadline to
apply for Fulbright Awards for international education and academic
Nov 1 Division of
Preservation and Access, NEH, deadline for the Preservation Program,
U.S. Newspaper Program, and National Heritage Preservation Program;
for projects starting June 1 changed from Dec. 1. NEH, Preservation
and Access, Room 802, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20506,
Nov 1 Deadline to
register for the winter Modern Archives Institute, National Archives
and Records Administration, Washington, DC. $565. Contact: Modern
Archives Institute, Professional Development and Training (PDT), National
Archives and Records Administration, Room 3110, 8601 Adelphi Road,
College Park MD 20740-6001.
Nov 14-15 Society of American Archivists workshop, "Understanding Archives;" Stevenson, Maryland.
Dec 4 Small Repositories
Roundtable of MARAC. 3:00pm, National Association of Convenience Stores,
1600 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA; phone 703-518-4237.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has an immediate opening for an Archival Assistant in the office of the Historian General. Duties include: sorting; arranging; cataloging and indexing finding aids for select record groups; performing preliminary conservation measures on acquisitions; assisting in the preparation of exhibits; data and input of development databases for recording purposes; works with the Archivist-Historian in the development of a computerized cataloging and information retrieval system.
1-2 years previous experience in archival/collections required, including demonstrated ability to apply basic archival principles & practices, preferably in a library, or historical society, non-profit setting. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite required. BA in History required. MA in History or MLS desired. Salary range in low thirties.
Send cover letter and resume
including salary requirements to: National Society Daughters of the
American Revolution, Human Resources, 1776 D. St. NW, Washington D.C.,
20006-5392. Fax: (202) 737-5702. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEXT ISSUE OF THE QUARTERLY: January 2003
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