Celebrate American Archival Month!

American Archives MonthSince 2006, October has brought a unique opportunity to display the importance of the work that archivists do. This month is American Archival Month!

Pioneered by the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) and the Society of American Archivists, the celebration involves various themes, exhibits, and events in archives, libraries, museums, corporations, historical societies, and organizations around the country.

South Carolina ArchivesThis year, South Carolina’s Archival Association also celebrates its fifteenth birthday, with the theme of the natural environment. Archivists and libraries across the state are hosting exhibits, lectures, open houses, and tours to highlight the landscape, conservation, flora, fauna, agriculture, natural resources, and outdoor recreation of South Carolina. Events include a display of the 1989 Hurricane Hugo at Hollings Library, a viewing of Maria Martin’s butterfly and insect sketch book at Charleston Museum, and a talk by National Geographic photographer Vincent J. Musi at Charleston Library.

Another large celebration is occurring at the 9th-Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, hosted by L.A. as Subject. This day features talks by archival experts from the Autry National Center of the American West and the Los Angeles Public Library. The bazaar will also feature an archives roadshow, a discussion on the monsters that lurk Southern California, and a screening of the documentary Monomaniacs.

Archives Month PhillyAnother archival hub – Philadelphia is featuring a series called Archives Month Philly including tours, workshops, screenings, exhibits, and lectures throughout Philadelphia’s various institutions. Specific events include a personal digital archiving day at Bryn Mawr College Libraries, a special tour of the John Bowman Special Collections Library at Batram’s Garden, a historic tour of the Curtis Institute of Music buildings and archives, and much more.

Despite the many events and celebrations across the country, archival month is more than viewing collections and hearing speeches. It is expanding our knowledge of people, stories, and experiences through records of another time.  It is truly appreciating the work of this country’s archivists. For a comprehensive list of events by state, click here or search for hashtag #archivesmonth on Twitter!

May is the National Photography Month

National Photo MonthEvery May since 1987 the United States has celebrated National Photography Month. Throughout the country, this month is marked by photography contests, festivals, exhibits, and other activities. It also represents a time of reflection on the history of photography and how far it has grown. In 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the first photographic image with a camera obscura. His heliographs, or sun prints, allowed the light to draw his pictures. In 1829, Louis Daguerre partnered with Niepce to improve the process and develop a method known as the daguerreotype. This ‘fixed’ the images onto a sheet of silver-plated copper. In 1889, George Eastman invented film with a flexible, unbreakable base. The 1940s brought color and Polaroid photographs, which eventually gave way to digital and disposable cameras in the 1980s.

The Big Photo ShowOne of the biggest celebrations of the month takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 17-18. This Big Photo Show offers photo enthusiasts an opportunity to see, touch, try, and buy photo equipment from top manufacturers, learn picture taking tips from professionals, discover the newest ways to display images, and more. The event even includes a photography contest open to all photo enthusiasts.

Celebrating National Photography Month can take many forms. Whether you are entering contests, or simply cherishing everyday moments, don’t forget to appreciate the history of this wonderful art.

ApresfotoAprèsfoto, the premier supplier of archival presentation and storage products will be exhibiting at the Big Photo Show, May 17-18 at the LA Convention Center, booth #435. Stop by and see a variety of products from portfolios, archival boxes and photo bags to interleaving tissues and frame supplies.  Get a sneak peek at some new products and don’t forget to pick up a show special coupon!

For special discounted show tickets just use code 2014TBPS to get $15 off the ticket price courtesy of Aprèsfoto. Go to: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-big-photo-show-2014-tickets-9930374016

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8.

Throughout this month, many major archival institutions in the US (including the Library of Congress, National Archives, National Park Service, and Smithsonian Institution) join together in paying tribute to the generations of women and their invaluable contributions to American History, Science, Politics and many other aspects of life.

Our friends at Museum Textile Services featured a conservation project they just completed for The Wheaton College’s Permanent Collection that is directly related to one of women’s critical roles in American history. You can read this fascinating series of blog posts (parts 1, 2 and 3) describing preservation efforts on a large collection of artifacts from the American Women’s Voluntary Services (AWVS), the largest American women’s service organization in the United States during the World War II. MTS staff were entrusted by Wheaton College with a large collection of WWII uniforms and accessories, as well as tiniest clothing details such as spare buttons and badges. Each garment/accessory was assessed individually and prescribed various conservation/cleaning treatments administered to them depending on the material, condition and individual qualities of the item. In the end, all were surrounded by (and/or stuffed with) acid-free tissue and placed in archival textile boxes for safe storage.

Overall, it was a modest but precise treatment for these prized pieces of history, making them safe for study and display. We sincerely thank Museum Textile Services for employing our archival quality products throughout this important project.

American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month is celebrated in November to recognize Native cultures and to educate the public about the heritage, history, art, and traditions of the American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Native American Heritage Month Website, which is a collaboration of 8 major museums and institutions has a comprehensive list of various events, exhibits, demonstrations, and online resources available for a better understanding of the rich history and amazing traditions of the indigenous peoples of America.

• National Park Services has Tribal Preservation Programs & Grants designed to help repair some of the damage done in the last 500 years to the tribes and aid in restoring language, tradition, religion, objects, and sites.

• National Archives website has an entire section dedicated to the Native American Records, in which you can research records for a specific person (arranged by tribe), as well as other available online resources, hundreds of scanned rare photos and historical records pertaining to Native Americans.

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has a state-of-the-art museum conservation facility, which includes separate laboratories for working on textiles and objects, a technical library, a photography studio, a scientific analytical lab, and mount-making spaces. The conservators participate in outreach, training and research projects conducted by the NMAI, collaborate with other institutions on special programs and, of course, take an important part in restoring, preserving and preparing artifacts for being displayed in the museum. The recently opened five-year exhibition called Circle of Dance presents Native dance as a vibrant, meaningful, and diverse form of cultural expression. The museum uses costume displays and a large-screen video to illuminate 10 Native American dances. Both Washington, DC and New York locations of NMAI are ready to celebrate the Heritage Month with a calendar full of events.

Celebrating American Archives Month All Across America

October is designated throughout the United States as American Archives month. The month was founded in 1969 by the Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, but now Archives Month is a collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories. Society of American Archivists (SAA) takes active part in promoting and developing the month-long celebration, raising much needed public awareness and providing professionals with new ways to attract attention to the priceless treasures they preserve and valuable services they provide. Instruction on how to preserve family photographs and documents are also usually provided in each state. The majority of the states get involved and plan out different sorts of activities that pertain to archiving. You can follow the ongoing events by searching for hash tag #ArchivesMonth on Twitter and also by visiting SAA on Facebook.

Throughout Archives Month, museums, libraries, and other archival institutions all across the country are celebrating by defining their respective histories and the ways that make them unique to one another. Each participating state designed a poster that reflects the chosen theme while showcasing some of the finest archival ephemera and photo treasures normally hidden in boxes and folders.

Some states picked very unusual and original topics for 2012 Archives Month. For example, Washington is presenting it’s illustrious history of crooks, cops, and courts. University of Texas at Austin Archives were inspired by fashion and clothing, while The Oregon State Historical Records Advisory Board concentrated on a more serious issue by commemorating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in Oregon. From maps to music and home videos… Hey, even Rock&Roll Hall of Fame got in on some archival action 🙂

You can see the more comprehensive list of activities and themes on SAA’s site designated to Archives Month. or on the Council of State Archivists Archives Month Directory site, which sorted them by state.