• Due to renovations to our vault, access to our collections is limited until further notice. Please contact us for more information.

Adventure in archiving

[Mariecris:] When working the reference desk you never know what type of reference requests will come along.  Some of them are pretty consistent: people doing research for a book/dissertation, requesting images for a documentary or exhibit, compiling family history etc.  But every so often we get a request that completely throws me.  And those requests are definitely exciting.  One such request made me feel like I was in an Indiana Jones movie.  Two researchers/archaeologists in South America emailed the archives requesting photocopies a few letters and photographs from the Benjamin Talley collection.  They informed me that they were searching for statues that had been dug up in South America sometime during the 1930s and shipped overseas.  They were using Talley’s papers to track where those statues went.  These statues are probably not magical or alien but are still the object of a mission.  Perhaps that’s part of the reason I became an archivist.  It is the search that is so much fun! (Indiana Jones always gave his discoveries to museums or archives anyways.)  But as an archivist I can have some adventures of my own.  As I help researchers navigate our collections or as I arrange and describe a collection, I get to solve a mystery. Of course most of our records were not extracted from ancient hidden temples.  Our donors have kindly donated collections to the archives, making them available for research.  By sharing their own ‘adventures,’ researchers and archivists can get closer to the objects of their own mission.  So I tip my Indiana Jones hat off at them!

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