North Country Archival Conference Friday

Anyone interested in learning more about conservation, archival security, digitizing photographs, the history of the Adirondacks, and a whole lot more is invited to come and spend a few hours of their time in return for a wealth of knowledge.

The Northern New York Library Network based in Potsdam is hosting its second Annual North Country Archives and Special Collections Conference: Efficiency, Effectiveness and Education on April 8, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Resort, Lake Placid. The cost for all attendees is only $10.00. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the conference running from 9:00 a.m. &#8211 2:00 p.m.

Attendees of the North Country Archives and Special Collections Conference will have the opportunity to select from two of four morning sessions, then attend an afternoon presentation immediately following lunch, which is included in the price.

The first Session I choice will &#8220Large Conference Benefits and Highlights of the 2010 Society of American Archivists Annual Conference,&#8221 presented by Jane Subramanian, SUNY Potsdam. During this session, the benefits of attending the larger archival conferences and involvement with professional organizations for those working in smaller archives will be discussed. Conferences and professional organizations from the Society of American Archivists, Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, New England Archivists, and New York Archives Conference will be examined. Educational and other opportunities will also be covered. News and highlights of the Society of American Archivists 2010 Annual Conference that are useful for all sizes of archives will also be presented.

The second Session I choice will be &#8220Conservation 101,&#8221 presented by Barbara Eden, Director, Department of Preservation and Collection Maintenance, Cornell University. As custodians of our cultural heritage, we have the responsibility to ensure the long-term survival of these resources. Participants will learn about the elements of a preservation program that can easily be implemented into their institutions. This session will provide a beginner’s course in conservation of archival materials. Students will learn how to get started, what planning must take place, policies and procedures, and care and handling of materials held in many archival collections.

The first Session II choice will be &#8220On Our Watch: Security in Archives and Special Collections,&#8221 presented by Nicolette A. Dobrowolski, Head of Public Services, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library. Archives and libraries with historical and special collections materials sometimes do not recognize how vulnerable their collections are to loss. That is, until you cannot find that one important book or folder for your researcher&#8230- The question on a lot of our minds today is &#8220How can we fulfill the need to provide access to our collections while simultaneously protecting them?&#8221

Collections have the potential to be threatened by theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and damage from careless handling or poor environmental conditions. Responsibility must be taken to protect collections today so they are available to future generations of researchers. This presentation will help participants gain the knowledge needed to start developing or revising strategies and policies with regards to security of archives and special collections materials. Topics will include overall security risk awareness, developing institutional policies, facility design, reading room management and design, staff hiring and training, collection management and record keeping and theft (including insider theft and responses to theft). Real life scenarios and practices will be used as examples.

The second Session II choice will be &#8220Digitizing Your Historical Photographs,&#8221 presented by Denis Meadows, Regional Advisory Officer, NYS Archives. Today many historical records repositories are looking at digitization for their collections, including their historical photographs. Digitization of these valuable historical photographs can be a great way to share history with a wider audience and, at the same time, save wear and tear on the original photographs. This session will look at what repositories can digitize and why they should consider digitization, as well as present an overview of the scanning and metadata development processes.

Following lunch, Caroline M. Welsh, Director Emerita of the Adirondack Museum, will present a lecture on &#8220From Axes to Zootropes: Museum Collections and Community History.&#8221

&#8220Within the walls of the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake are century-old tools that harvested trees and earth-bound minerals and ores- vehicles that transported people and goods on land and water- objects from camps and homes- and artifacts that picture the past &#8211 thousands of documents from the region, historic photographs, and works of art,&#8221 Ms. Welsh commented.

Objects document how people lived &#8212- elitist and non-elitist. An object tells us about the people who made and used it, and also about the people for whom it was made. Objects also document intangibles like attitudes, values, and ideas. All in all, the Adirondack Museum Collections number over 100,000 objects, pieces and parts. The late Arthur Schlesinger said, &#8220History is to a nation as memory is to the individual.&#8221

While this lecture is but a cursory overview of the complex history of the Adirondacks, it signals the importance of preserving the region’s material culture as a memory bank for the stories of the people who lived, worked, and played in the Adirondacks.

For more information or to sign-up, go online to www.nnyln.org and click on &#8220Classes,&#8221 or call 315-265-1119.

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