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Greg Bradsher: Monuments Men expert at the National Archives

Robert Edsel, author of The Monuments Men, the book on which the film was based, will speak at the National Archives tonight at 7 p.m. You also watch online at Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives. Edsel and a panel will discuss his books as well as the recent film adaptation. The panel includes our senior archivist Greg Bradsher.

The Monuments Men opened in theaters on February 7, but its origins began at our very own National Archives nearly 20 years ago.

Senior archivist Greg Bradsher has been at the National Archives for 37 years. Early in his career, he processed and appraised records relating to Holocaust-era assets. For him, the story of the Monuments Men is a massive treasure hunt spanning the globe.

“In the mid- to late-1990s, Holocaust-era assets suddenly became a hot topic,” Bradsher recalled. ”At the time, I was the Assistant Branch Chief to Research Services at Archives II, so they asked me to become an expert since I already had the knowledge to deal with different researcher interests.”

His expertise came in handy when then-researcher Miriam Kleiman came to Archives II in March 1996 looking for records related to Swiss bank accounts during the Holocaust. Naturally, Bradsher was tapped to assist her. (Kleiman is now working at the National Archives as a Public Affairs specialist and occasional blogger.)

“Within weeks, the Senate had hearings … [ Read all ]

One table, 300 documents to explore

When the David M. Rubenstein Gallery opened to the public on December 11, visitors found that the focal point of the Records of Rights exhibit isn’t a static document, but a 17-foot-long interactive table containing hundreds of digital documents.

“From the beginnings of concept development, our team wanted a central element for the exhibit,” curator Alice Kamps explained. “An interactive table seemed like a great way to bring interaction in and among our visitors. Once that platform was established, we had to figure out what we wanted it to do.”

Work on the table began about two years ago. The engineering and software aspect was handled by D&P Inc. and Second Story Interactive Studios. “I think it’s really cool!” Kamps said enthusiastically. “The design is beautiful. The table reacts to the visitor’s presence through motion-sensing cameras. And it allows visitors to express their emotional reactions to the documents with other visitors.”

Visitors can pick positive, negative, and neutral emotion terms to represent how they felt about the document they are viewing. Then, they “push” the document towards the center of the table, where it will appear on a series of monitors on the walls flanking the table. A pop-up will be displayed in the other screens, inviting other viewers to explore the documents, too.

Not only did the team need to get the technology to work, but … [ Read all ]

American Archives Month: Stacey Chandler, Kennedy Presidential Library

It’s been a great two weeks, but American Archives Month is coming to an end. We’re saying good-bye to the series with a stop at the hometown of the 2013 World Series Champions: Boston, MA.

Full name: Stacey Chandler

Occupation: Archives Technician for Textual Reference at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

How long have you worked at this library?

Five years total, including two years as an intern.

How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?

I interned in the archives at the Kennedy Library through graduate school, while trying to decide exactly what do to with my Public History degree. After two years working with the collections here, how could I choose to work in any other field?

What are some of your responsibilities at your library?

Mainly, I help researchers find and access documents on whatever they’re curious about in the life and times of John F. Kennedy. I also do tours and reference for the Ernest Hemingway collection, and keep on the lookout for preservation concerns, new books to add to the library, and chances to put cool documents in the spotlight.

What do you like best about your job?

The best part of my job is talking with all different kinds of people about history every day. The amazingly wide range of subjects people ask us about keeps … [ Read all ]

American Archives Month: Stacy Davis, Ford Presidential Library

We’re coming to the end of American Archives Month. This time, we’re heading back to the Midwest, up to Ann Harbor and Grand Rapids, MI. This Presidential Library belongs to a famous University of Michigan grad: Gerald Ford.

Name: Stacy Davis

Occupation: Archivist at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

How long have you worked at this library? 

Ten years, but I have worked 15 years for the National Archives.

How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?

I found the archives field by accident. While I was finishing my undergraduate degree in History at Central Michigan University, I found out about an internship at the John F. Kennedy Library through a flyer. I got the job, and from that point I was hooked on archives!

What are some of your responsibilities at your library?

I participate in a wide variety of activities at the Ford Library. I am the manager of the Library’s digitization program, the ARC point of contact, Specially Protected Materials control person, student employee supervisor. I help monitor the research room, accession new materials, sometimes process new collections, and provide reference assistance.

What do you like best about your job?

I think what I like best is the variety of things that I get to do, and the people I get to work with. On any given day, I could be working with newly … [ Read all ]

American Archives Month: Sarah Malcolm, Roosevelt Library

We’re kicking off Halloween week by heading over to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY.

We asked archivist Sarah Malcolm about public misconceptions of her profession.

“The word archivist is a misconception in and of itself, since unfortunately most people aren’t sure what that word means,” Malcolm said. “Usually, the first question I get from people when I say that I am an archivist is, ‘So what do you do?’

“What an archivist is can be a range of things. Archivists work with collections and papers ranging from centuries ago to digital files being created today. We take care of these documents, photographs, audio and video recordings to make them accessible for people now and for generations to come. We preserve collections, create exhibits, answer peoples questions, and spend a lot of time getting dusty and dirty. We work in small historical societies, colleges and universities, corporate headquarters, government institutions, and everywhere else in between. We get to work with history every day, and that’s what makes being an archivist so unique and fun.”

Read on to learn more about Malcolm’s archival experiences!

Name: Sarah Malcolm

Occupation: Archivist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library

How long have you worked at this library?

Three years, plus four summers of internships.

How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?

I fell in … [ Read all ]