Opening up the urban archive: innovations, in teaching, research and digital outreach

Hearing Doretha Williams discuss her work on the D.C. Africana Archives Project at George  Washington University provides archivists with a great model for planning and executing cross-institutional collaborations. Considering relationships between institutions and how collaborations can strengthen those relationships was a big take-away. Simple pieces of a project, like setting aside two student processing positions for a neighboring archive, can go a long way to ensure positive results. 

Most interesting to me was Doretha’s discussion of the research questions she and her team considered as they began their project. For example, they wondered how the increasing black population in D.C. played a role in the lack of voting rights in the district? I’m not sure I’ve approached processing from this kind of research perspective, before processing, rather than after. Doretha closed her presentation with thoughts as to how to create meaningful community collaborations:

Collaboratively minded

Historical contributions

Educationally focused

Community connected

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