Last Thursday (November 15) was the most recent meeting of the Miami Valley Archivists Roundtable (or, MVAR), an informal gathering of archivists in and around Dayton, Ohio. This time, we met at Wright State University Special Collections & Archives. Our hosts were Dawne Dewey, Head of the Special Collections & Archives, and Bill McIntire, Dayton Daily News archivist.
This was my first meeting as Chair of the MVAR, and I had a few discussion points I wanted to bring up before we did our institutional reports:
1) I would like to re-instate the keeping of a (for lack of a better term) “membership list”. Since MVAR is very informal and there are no dues, the only real criterion for “membership” is that the person have some interest in “Miami Valley Archives” (as it is the Miami Valley Archives Roundtable). I had noticed from the MVAR Archives (which I didn’t even know existed – although it should have been obvious, seeing as it’s a group of archivists! – until Rachel brought it to me in August) that we used to have an actual member list of names and contact information. I think this would be a good record of growth and changes in the group, more than anything else.
2) I would also like to create a web presence for the MVAR. I had thought for a while that this might be a good idea, but the point really hit home when I saw that on the SAA’s list of archival organizations the entry for MVAR has a link to my blog as the web site. And it was like that even before I became chair or updated the chair’s contact info with them; they did it on their own, apparently because it was the only reference to MVAR that they could find on the web. I think it would be good if we changed that. It could be as simple as a list of the meetings and locations on a free WordPress site.
Both of these suggestions were met with generally positive comments. Someone expressed concern that if we had a web site (or a Facebook group) that the announcements on the email list might dwindle. I assured them that I wanted the web site to be in addition to, not instead of, what we do now.
After the meeting, I created a brief survey to gauge interest in a membership list and a web site from the whole of MVAR (since not everyone comes to every meeting) and sent out by email. As of this writing, 25 people have responded, and 100% of respondents agreed that a membership list is a good idea and 100% also agreed that a web presence is a good idea. I have not yet acted on either yet, though.
I made one other announcement that I thought would be of interest to MVAR members (although many are already aware, I’m sure): to remind them of the upcoming 1913 Flood centennial (in March) and to mention the official 1913 Flood Facebook page, Twitter feed (@1913flood), and web site (http://www.1913flood.com/ – forthcoming). Our next MVAR meeting is not until February, and that seemed too late to be spreading the word!
Oh – and one last thing – I subjected everyone to couple of photos. I promised I wouldn’t do this every time, but since it was my first MVAR… Someone also offered to take one of me, too (the third picture):
After these announcements (and photos), we did our institutional reports.
The institutional reports consist of each person in attendance taking a turn, stating their name, position, and institution, and sharing a little bit about what they have been up to lately, archives-wise. (The label “institutional reports” may make it sound formal, but it’s really not!) Here are some snippets from the reports that I hope my peers won’t mind my sharing:
Judy Deeter of the Troy Historical Society passed around a copy of the recently published Arcadia book Troy and the Great Flood of 1913 (on sale Dec. 3), which she helped write, as well as a copy of Scott Trostel’s new book And Through the Black Night of Terror (about the 1913 flood in the northern Miami Valley).
Dawne Dewey of the Wright State University Special Collections & Archives announced that the Public History Graduate Symposium will be held on March 22, 2013, with the Smithsonian’s Tom Crouch as plenary speaker. (This will be the second PH Symposium, and I am looking forward to it. I really enjoyed the 2012 WSU Public History Symposium!) Dawne also mentioned that one of her grad assistants is compiling a list of local resources on the 1913 Flood, so let her know if you have any 1913 Flood collections!
Toni Vanden Bos & Gino Pasi, both also of WSU SC&A, announced that the 1913 Flood traveling exhibit that they created will soon be available for institutions to borrow — so watch the SC&A web site for info!
When it was my turn to report (as a new archivist at the Wright State University Special Collections & Archives), I simply stated that I am still in the “getting the lay of the land” phase of my position, since it was only my second week, so I did not have anything terribly exciting to report just yet!
After the institutional reports, we went over the list of relevant upcoming conferences:
- Dec. 5, 2012: SAA Workshop: “Archival Exhibitions #1350” (Ohio University, Athens, OH)
- Mar. 22, 2013: WSU Public History Grad Student Symposium (WSU, Dayton, OH), with Tom Crouch as plenary speaker
- Apr. 8-10, 2013: CiL Annual Conference (Washington, DC)
- Apr. 17-20, 2013: National Council on Public History Annual Meeting (Ottawa, Canada)
- Apr. 18-20, 2013: MAC Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, IN)
- Apr./May 2013 (TBD): Society of Ohio Archivists Spring Meeting
- July 10-13, 2013: NAGARA Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, IN)
- Aug. 11-17, 2013: SAA/CoSA Joint Annual Meeting (New Orleans, LA)
- Sept. 18-21, 2013: AASLH Annual Conference (Birmingham, AL)
- Oct. 28-30, 2013: ARMA Annual Conference & Expo (Las Vegas, NV)
- Nov. 7-10, 2013: LITA National Forum (Louisville, KY)
- Aug. 10-16, 2014: SAA Annual Meeting (Washington, DC)
Future MVAR Meeting Dates:
February 21, 2013 – Clark County Historical Society
May 16, 2013 (host still needed)
August 15, 2013 (host still needed)
November 21, 2013 (host still needed)
We still need hosts for all of the above meetings except the February meeting. If you want to volunteer to host a meeting, please contact me! Otherwise, take your chances, because if nobody volunteers, I will have to start cornering people individually with cold calls!
Historically, I have not liked to post the info about where an upcoming meeting is going to be held. What if we have pranksters? Or crashers? Or bombers? I brought this up when discussing the potential web site, and people didn’t seem too concerned about it. Actually, it sounded like “trying to find out where the next meeting is” was (in most cases) the primary purpose for Googling “Miami Valley Archives Roundtable” in the first place. So…I guess I won’t worry about it anymore!
Next, we had a presentation and tour of the new Dayton Daily News Archive at WSU.
DDN Archivist Bill McIntire gave a great presentation about the DDN Archive Project and its many strengths and challenges:
And then we got a tour of the DDN Archive space, including a great selection of items that Bill had on display for us to look at:
After the tour, several of us headed out to the lunch portion of the meeting, which was held at the Great American Grill in the new Hilton Garden Inn on Pentagon Boulevard.
Another successful (and fun) MVAR meeting on the books!