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Archive for October, 2013

American Archives Month: Valoise Armstrong, Eisenhower Presidential Library

We continue with celebrating American Archives Month by showcasing some of our amazing archivists in the Presidential Libraries.

This post takes continues our journey through the heartlands of America: Abilene, KS.

Valoise Armstrong is an archivist at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.

Valoise Armstrong is an archivist at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.

Name: Valoise Armstrong

Occupation: Archivist at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum

How long have you worked at this library?

After working for five years at the National Archives at Seattle office, I transferred to the Eisenhower Library in July 2004.

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

I went to college many years after I graduated from high school and majored in my passion, which is history. I didn’t have any desire to teach, but being an archivist was a way I could immerse myself in history every day, so it was a very easy choice to focus on Archival Management in graduate school.

What are some of your responsibilities at your library?

I am responsible for three main areas in our archival operations: I am in charge of manuscript preservation activities; I maintain our oral history collection; and I oversee all of my library’s entries in the National Archives online description catalog. Among the duties shared by all the archivists at my library, I also answer reference questions, work with researchers in the research room, assist with … [ Read all ]

American Archives Month: Matthew Schaefer, Hoover Presidential Library

October is American Archives Month! Although we’re partway through October, there’s still time to celebrate the archivists from our Presidential Libraries. The series kicks off with a trip to the heartlands of America: West Branch, IA.

Matthew Schaefer, outreach archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

Matthew Schaefer, outreach archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

Name: Matthew Schaefer

Occupation: Outreach archivist for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

How long have you worked at this library?
Eleven years.

How/why did you decide to go into the archival field?
While working on my dissertation, I took a “temporary” job in archives to pay the bills. My plan was to keep the archives gig until I earned my degree, then join the professoriate. After 25 years and three institutions, I am ready to acknowledge that I am an archivist.

What are some of your responsibilities at your library? What do you like best about your job?
The thing that I like best about my job is the variety of tasks that fall to me. This meshes well with my short little span of attention. My duties at the Hoover include organizing conferences, working with professional organizations, and keeping the library in the public eye. I also manage the reference room, do collection management tasks, and serve as lookout for zombies.

Tell us about a time something unusual or unexpected happened to you in your line of work.[ Read all ]

Furloughed Fed volunteers at local historical society

Meris Westberg lends a conserving hand at the DC Historical Society while

Meris Westberg lends a helping hand at the Historical Society of Washington, DC, during the government shutdown. Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of Washington, DC.

When the National Archives closed its doors on October 1 due to the government shutdown, staff did not know when they would return to work. So Meris Westberg took her skills to the Historical Society of Washington, DC (HSW).

When Westberg joined HSW a few months ago, she had talked to the collections manager, Anne McDonough, about volunteering there. But the hours were similar to her work hours at the National Archives, where Westberg works on books and manuscripts in Hebrew and Arabic from the Iraqi Jewish Archives, so it didn’t seem likely she would be able to give many volunteer hours—until the furlough allowed her the time.

Westberg is a conservation technician, and so with the permission of HSW staff, she developed some short-term preservation projects that would benefit their staff and researchers. She created a Google spreadsheet of over 100 city directories from 1820 to 1900. These books were the “Yellow Pages” of their time, according to Westberg, and they are popular with researches.

The directories were in varying conditions: some were rebound and in good shape, others were falling apart. Westberg examined and noted the condition of each on her spreadsheet and did some light conservation work, … [ Read all ]

Archivist welcomes visitors back to the National Archives

Archivist of the United States David Ferriero welcomes a visitor to the reopened National Archives Museum on October 17, 2013.

Archivist of the United States David Ferriero welcomes a visitor to the reopened National Archives Museum on October 17, 2013.

At 1 p.m. on October 17, the doors to the National Archives Museum on Constitution Avenue opened for the first time since September 30. Archivist of the United States David Ferriero greeted the first visitors to enter the building.

“It’s really nice to see people roaming the halls again. I’m proud of the fact that we were able to open our doors as quickly as we did,” said Ferriero. “It’s clear that our visitors are extraordinarily grateful to spend this special time with the documents.”

The message from the Archivist and other staff was “We’re happy to be back,” and the visitors’ feelings were the same.

Visitors had come from across the country and around the world. One couple from St. Louis, MO, had been in Washington three years ago but missed the National Archives. This time they were determined to come to the Archives. Two other California visitors came from the north and south: Los Gatos and Orange County.

Visitors from Italy were among the first people to enter the reopened building, and they were followed by people from several countries. A couple from Japan had been in Washington since Friday and were happy to be able to visit the Federal museums after all. Two men from the United Kingdom—one from London … [ Read all ]

Notice: Federal Government Shutdown

Due to the Federal government shutdown, the National Archives (www.archives.gov)is closed. We are unable to post or participate in any of our social media channels during this closure. All National Archives facilities are closed, with the exception of the Federal Records Centers and the Federal Register, until the Federal government reopens.… [ Read all ]