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Archives & Manuscripts

Reconstructing the physical past

Response to article Thirty years ago, as Germans were tearing down the Berlin Wall, East Germany's secret police (Stasi) were tearing up as many documents related to surveillance as possible. Electronic shredders couldn't keep up, so officers took to tearing the files up by hand. Citizens stormed the Stasi headquarters before everything could be destroyed,… Continue reading Reconstructing the physical past

Archives & Manuscripts

Crowdsourcing archives

Response to article and database The British Columbia Gay & Lesbian Archives (BCGLA) recently digitized a collection received in 2018, including about 5,400 photographs, 2,000 posters and 140 audiovisual materials. As part of this digitization project, they put out calls for the public to access the materials and help the BCGLA identify individuals in the… Continue reading Crowdsourcing archives

Archives & Manuscripts

Innovations in Data Storage

Response to article and project website "Microsoft Research partnered with Warner Bros. to save the original 1978 “Superman” movie on a small piece of quartz glass. It uses femtosecond lasers (ultrafast and short lasers used in LASIK surgeries) to encode data in a multidimensional space and takes advantage of new machine learning algorithms." (Microsoft Photo… Continue reading Innovations in Data Storage

Archives & Manuscripts

Prince’s Paisley Archives

Response to article and interview On April 21, 2016, Prince died at Paisley Park, his complex outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Almost immediately, his legacy was caught in the crossfire of competing interests: his family, his record company, his friends, and his fans--not to mention Prince's own wishes, which were never set down in a will--all… Continue reading Prince’s Paisley Archives

Archives & Manuscripts

Finding something you didn’t want to find in the archives

Response to https://www.cpr.org/2018/04/04/should-colorado-display-a-rediscovered-portrait-of-its-kkk-governor/ Recently, construction workers at the Colorado State Archives in Denver discovered a number of portraits that had been blocked from view by some poorly-placed pegboard. Why were they lost? The archives simply lost track of the portraits at some point in the last few decades, said Doug Platt, communications manager for the… Continue reading Finding something you didn’t want to find in the archives

Archives & Manuscripts

Parenting as Accessioning

accessionn. ~ Materials physically and legally transferred to a repository as a unit at a single time; an acquisition. - v. ~ 2. To take legal and physical custody of a group of records or other materials and to formally document their receipt. In 2015, after a nine-month development process and 37-hour final negotiation, I… Continue reading Parenting as Accessioning

Archives & Manuscripts

Archives for Accountability

Response to "Historians push to create public archive of documents from massive opioid legislation" Full court brief A group of historians recently filed an amici curiae brief requesting that any and every settlement in the numerous opioid-related lawsuits circulating in national courts commit all related documents and materials to the creation of a public opioid-industry… Continue reading Archives for Accountability

Archives & Manuscripts

Remaining Human

See Penn Museum's Human Remains Policy here.Header image by ASaber91, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license A few years ago, I visited the Rosemount Museum in Pueblo, Colorado. An exhibit in the attic of the house museum featured (among other things) taxidermal animals. In the center of the room, encased in glass,… Continue reading Remaining Human

Archives & Manuscripts

Languages Live in the Archives

Response to "Historic Recordings Revitalize Language for Passamaquoddy Tribal Members," NPR's All Things Considered (September 3, 2019) In 1890, on a research trip to Calais, Maine, anthropologist Walter Jesse Fewkes used a phonograph to record tribal songs, stories, and phonetic pronunciations offered by three spokesmen for the Passamaquoddy tribe. Fewkes used the phonograph to record… Continue reading Languages Live in the Archives

Archives & Manuscripts

Archival Research in the Digital Age

Response to this article about archival research in the digital age It's interesting to note the continuities in historians' approaches to increasingly digital archives. The questions they must ask of the archives, Milligan notes, remain basically the same: "Why were these records created? Who created or preserved them? And, what wasn't preserved?" The need to… Continue reading Archival Research in the Digital Age