Thursday, April 4, 2013

Archives & Special Collections Student Presentation at the New England Archivists Conference!

On Saturday, March 23, Leslie Fields and I attended the New England Archivists (NEA) spring conference to give a presentation on my position as the student outreach assistant at ASC. The NEA holds a conference every spring and fall, and this one was held at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. I was really excited about this; I thought it would be fun to see what everyone there had to say. I also really love my job and was thrilled to be sharing about it!

Mary Alice Martin (right) and Leslie Fields at the New England Archivists Conference.

The keynote speaker Tom Scheinfeldt spoke about collaboration between digital humanists and archivists, which I thought was a great segway into our breakout session about partnerships in academic environments. Leslie and I were on a panel with some other archivists and students speaking about our work together. We had a blast showing everyone our Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and the button maker (of course)!  We went in with the intention to show others that this outreach and social media work could be a lot of FUN, and not done just by professional staff members. I feel like we’ve really been able to get the Mount Holyoke community more involved in the goings-on of the archives, and I hope that those at the session feel like they can use some of our ideas in their own institutions.

We received wonderful feedback on our presentation, and many people stayed after with us to make I <3 Archives buttons.  We even had some MHC alumnae in the audience! I had multiple people tell me they were filling out a request for a button maker that day. Our story is an inspiring one because it serves as an example of how a small operation (we have two archivists; Harvard has almost twenty) can successfully reach students and get people to like—even to LOVE—the archives. Our outreach strategies have been delightfully successful, and I think that’s mostly thanks to the Mount Holyoke student body.  We are a group of women interested in the history of our institution, and we also just really love buttons.

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