Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference Spring Meeting, which was held in Erie, Pennsylvania from April 25-27. At this professional conference, I had the privilege of participating in the panel session “Advancing the Front Line: Innovative Outreach,” which focused on innovative outreach methods used by archival institutions to promote their collections to the general public. The session was chaired by Andrew Cassidy-Amstutz of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and featured a panel consisting of three archivists from three different institutions in the Middle Atlantic region: myself, Rachel Jirka of The Society of Cincinnati in Washington, D.C., and Sierra Green of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
As a member of the panel, I gave the presentation “The Z. Taylor Vinson Collection: 3 Years and 3 Types of Research.” In my presentation, I discussed Hagley’s innovative long-term outreach program for promoting Vinson Collection which employs three types of outreach methods: on-site, off-site, and online. I identified and described the actual outreach methods we use on the project and discussed the advantages and disadvantages each of them posed. I also analyzed the overall success of the outreach program. In addition to discussing the outreach program, I also showed images of items preserved in the Vinson Collections and invited my colleagues to visit the Vinson Collection Blog and the Vinson Collection Digital Online Archive.
My colleagues on the session panel gave fascinating presentations on the innovative outreach being undertaken by their respective institutions to promote their collection holdings. Rachel Jirka discussed The Society of Cincinnati’s Master Teachers Seminar, which instructs teachers on the use of primary materials preserved in the society’s archives holdings. Sierra Green gave a presentation on the John Heinz History Center’s digital repository for teachers, which it uses to promote its archival holdings regarding the history of Western Pennsylvania. Both of these institutions have wonderful archival holdings and I strongly encourage blog readers to visit their web sites.
I would like to thank my colleagues at MARAC for kindly attending “Advancing the Front Line: Innovative Outreach.”
Kenton Jaehnig is the Project Archivist for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.