It’s October: Fall is in the air, a pumpkin spice latte is in your hands, and archivists around the United States are gearing up for American Archives Month. The National Air and Space Museum Archives is joining our archivist colleagues to celebrate with a couple of events. If you happen to be in the DC metro area on Saturday, October 21, please join us for the 2017 Archives Fair: Performance and Preservation at the National Museum of American History. And anyone, anywhere in the world, with a Twitter account can participate in the #AskAnArchivist event on October 4.
From 1:00 to 2:00 pm on Wednesday, October 4, my colleagues from the Museum’s Archives and I will be taking over the Museum’s Twitter account to answer any and all questions you have about archives, archival work, and archivists themselves. Just tweet @airandspace and add the hashtag #AskAnArchivist!
What does one ask an archivist, anyway?
During our 2015 #AskAnArchivist event, which you can revisit on Storify, we received questions such as: “Don’t you have to be a bit of a hoarder?” I stand by my answer: “We prefer ‘organized’ hoarder.” I also highlighted our must-see artifacts (Wright 1903 Flyer, Space Shuttle Discovery, and the Autogiro Company Of America AC-35) and one of my favorite lesser-known collections (the Walter and Arthur Wellman Collection on polar exploration).
But enough about the past. What do you want to know about the National Air and Space Museum Archives? Standard disclaimer: Please be aware that there may be some questions that will require too detailed an answer for us to complete within the limits of the 140-character Twitter format. For example, “What drawings and manuals do you have for the P-51 Mustang?” For a question like this, we would need to create a custom search order form for you. Some questions may also require additional research in our collections. For these queries, we may refer you to our online request form. We’ve also answered many basic questions about our collections on our FAQ.
Let’s practice for the #AskanArchivist party:
What’s a party without food? Do you have food in your collections?
Did you bring balloons for the party?
I’ve made a model airplane for this party and now need to store my drawings. How do you store your large format drawings?
We store our large format drawings in acid-free folders in flat file drawers of varying sizes. We also have rolled drawings to be flattened.
Of the people featured in your archival collections, who would be the most fun at a party?
Cecil “Teddy” Kenyon, a female test pilot for Grumman during WWII, flew well into her 70s. Here she is with her husband for Halloween!
I think I was able to stick to the 140 character count (yes, I know I was cheating with the links). So, let’s stop talking about this archival party and get to celebrating. I’ll see you on Twitter for #AskAnArchivist on October 4!