Mason’s Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) was well represented at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) in Morgantown, WV last week. Records Management Specialist Nick Welsh attended, Processing Coordinator Amanda Brent served on the Program Committee, and Research Services Coordinator Brittney Falter and I – Manuscripts and Archives Librarian Liz Beckman – gave presentations in two of the concurrent sessions. Brittney’s panel – of which she was also the chair – discussed the use of social media to promote archival collections and engage with users, particularly students. She was joined by speakers Kathleen Donahoe from the University of Pittsburgh and Rebecca Fitzsimmons of Virginia Tech, and many useful ideas were exchanged – a button-making machine using images from Special Collections might be making its way to Mason at some point! Many commenters referred back to this panel in later sessions, and it was very well received.
My presentation was part of a panel on invisible labor in archives. Along with speakers Tiffany Cole of James Madison University, Nicholas Webb of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Emily Curley of the Arlington Public Library, I discussed ways that the work of archivists sometimes gets erased or is undervalued. Specifically, I talked about ways to support and highlight the work of student workers, interns, and wage employees, many of whom do excellent archival work without sufficient attention or compensation. The panel was well attended, and hopefully will provoke further thought and feedback.
In addition to the sessions that we were involved in, SCRC staff also attended sessions on re-processing collections (something we’ve worked on quite frequently in SCRC), Virginia Archives Month (in which we participate regularly), and unions in archives. The plenary session by a representative of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) highlighted excellent work being done by South Asian archivists and community members to tell their stories and document their experience from the 19th century to the present.
MARAC holds bi-annual conferences at locations across the Mid-Atlantic region every spring and fall. Next spring’s conference will be held in Harrisonburg, VA, home of SCRC Director Lynn Eaton, and will probably have a strong SCRC contingent in attendance!
Featured image taken from the MARAC Morgantown conference program.
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