A storytelling of an unknown local artist

Alyse Minter, one of our fellow CUA students, completed her practicum at the Smithsonian Institution Archive last summer. During her work on digitizing audio/video cassettes at the Archive, she did archival research using primary sources on John N. Robinson, a native Washingtonian and artist. Her research about his life and work is published on Smithsonian Institution Archives blog. Check her storytelling about John Robinson at http://siarchives.si.edu/blog/john-n-robinson-his-life-and-work

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“Archives Blitz” in Yellowstone!

Written by Justine Rothbart

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In two weeks I will be embarking on my trip to Yellowstone National Park. You might ask, “How is your trip to Yellowstone related to Cultural Heritage Information Management?” Well, this is no ordinary trip. I was selected as one of five archivists to go to Yellowstone National Park to find their hidden collections. (In other words, I’ll be the Indiana Jones of archives.) Our team of five will spend one week in Yellowstone to complete an “Archives Blitz.”

Here’s a picture of what we’ll look like during our week in Yellowstone:

Tourists at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, 1888

Tourists at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, 1888

The Yellowstone Archives designed this one-week “blitz” to help small and rural repositories, like theirs, to process their collection. Here’s a blog post that describes the project: Using a Team Approach to Expose Yellowstone’s Hidden Collection.

I am very excited to be a part of this unique project. As a current National Park Service Intern, I am looking forward to learn more about a National Park’s archival collection located outside the Washington, D.C. area. By traveling to Yellowstone National Park, this will give me the opportunity to reflect on my past experience and give context to the archival profession as a whole.

Can’t wait to see what we discover!

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Check back for a future blog post(s) about my Yellowstone “Archives Blitz” experience.

Geeking Out

Written by Justine Rothbart

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geek out

  1. To enthuse about a specific topic, not realizing that most people listening will fail to understand it.
  2. To do geeky things; to act geeky; to speak of geeky things. [wiktionary]

 

How many times has this happened to you? You might be talking about something totally cool, and then suddenly realize that others are not as excited. They might be nodding their heads along thinking, “Wow, I’m glad she’s excited” or maybe “When is she going to stop talking?”

If you know me, you might have listened to me totally geek out about something. It might have been about archives, historic preservation, cats…ok, I’ll stop there. Anyways, there’s always something that gets people excited. And isn’t it surprising when it’s not the same thing you’re interested in?

This Saturday I saw the wide range of things people could geek out about. Thousands of book lovers gathered at the Washington, D.C Convention Center for the 14th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival. I listened to Sandra Day O’Connor and her brother talk about wild horses in the west, Eric Cline talk about archaeology and the year civilization collapsed, and Elizabeth Mitchell talk about the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty. While I was totally excited to learn about the diary of the Statue of Liberty’s sculptor, others were having just as good of a time learning about graphic novels or poetry in other sessions.

It’s sometimes refreshing to get out of your comfort zone. You might, like me, gravitate to the things you know you’ll be interested in. But if you try something new, you might step into another world that you didn’t even know existed. And who knows, you might even enjoy it.

This happened to me on Saturday while I was waiting in line with my friend to meet David Sibley. As my friend described him, David Sibley is the “rock star of the bird world.” While I like birds, I am not a bird enthusiast. I was there for my friend. I never knew how much someone could like birds until we met the other people in line. Suddenly I was on the other side of geeking out. I was the one just smiling and nodding along. Although I wasn’t as excited as they were, it gave me a greater appreciation for bird watching. I was happy to see people so passionate about one subject.

I was glad I stood in that line to see that other world, that new perspective. I don’t think I’ll be buying a pair of binoculars anytime soon. But now when I see a bird, I’ll stop and take a few more seconds to think back to David Sibley and the bird enthusiasts we met in line at the National Book Festival.

 

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Check out my blog post from last year’s National Book Festival: Cupcakes are out. Archives are in.