MVAR Recap 11/17/2011

This morning was the most recent meeting of the Miami Valley Archivists Roundtable, an informal gathering of archivists in and around Dayton, Ohio. Today, we met at Carillon Park.

Deeds Carillon at Carillon Park

Deeds Carillon at Carillon Park

The room was quite full today; we almost didn’t have enough seats!  As always, the institutional reports — where we share what’s going on at our institutions and what projects we are working on — were interesting and informative. I like to jot down notes and share any “suitable for public consumption” info here. So, here you go:

Perhaps the most important (or at least universally of interest) snippet that was mentioned today is that the Miami Conservancy District is heading up collaborations in relation to the centennial anniversary of the 1913 flood, which devastated Dayton (and many other cities in Ohio and other states). I believe there is a sort of listserv or other type of information “network” in the works so that we cultural institutions in the area can stay apprised of what one another is working on relative to the flood centennial. I believe one of my co-workers attended a meeting about this yesterday, and I intend to stay informed of these activities as well. I for one am hoping that there will be some kind of public web site put together so that we can all share info about our events and exhibits there, so the public can get all that info in one handy place.

A representative from the Middletown (Ohio) Historical Society shared exciting news that they have recently received a large collection from the Middletown Journal newspaper: files and clippings collected by the newspaper over the years. (If I understand her description of the collection correctly, it sounds very similar to the Dayton Daily News Archive acquired by Wright State University Special Collections & Archives, or the Xenia Gazette newspaper morgue recently acquired by the Greene County Room a few years ago). That is very exciting for Middletown’s history! The collection also included a large number of Middletown city directories – which, as I wrote about previously [10/25/2011] – can be very helpful for local history research!

Noel Rihm, a grad student in Wright State’s Public History program, announced that an exhibit she designed – “Longtown” (read announcement) – will be opening at the Garst Museum in Greenville this Sunday, Nov. 20th. Yay, WSU PH grad students!

Speaking of Public History grad students, Dawne Dewey, directory of the Wright State public history program, announced that a Public History Graduate Student Symposium will be held on March 2, 2012, in the WSU Student Union. PH students will give presentations about some of their projects, and the event is free and open to the public. She also noted that she’ll be needing some local PH professionals to help moderate the panels, so let her know if you’re interested!

Gwen Haney from Dayton History shared that they recently (in September) finished the digitizing and sharing online of 20,000+ images from the NCR Archive. They are now working on 5,000+ glass plate negatives from the Kern Collection, about 2,000 of which depict Dayton from ca. 1890-1900.

James Zimmerlin, archivist/records manager at the Warren County Records Center & Archives, mentioned that he will be hiring in the near future for a part-time position (about 10 hours per week) to help out with answering public records requests. So if you are interested in an archives/records management-related PT position in the Lebanon area, be on the lookout for this job posting!

Someone mentioned that they were able to find 19th century Cincinnati birth records submitted by the University of Cincinnati to the OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons (DRC) (which unfortunately seems to be down at the moment, as I try to link to it). Here is a link to what I believe is probably the same material, but from a landing page on UC’s site. I am always a fan of new sources of FREE history and genealogy records.

I will finish up by sharing a dash of humor from the reports. One archivist reported learning recently of a police department (which shall remain nameless: the archivist did not even tell us which one, so I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to!) that has been filing their records phonetically. That is, files about individuals are organized phonetically by last name. For example, if they had a file for the actor Matt Czuchry, it would be filed under “Z” not “C” because the name is pronounced “zoo-crie”. Suffice it to say, we all found this very…unusual, to say the least.

After the institutional reports, we usually go over a list of relevant upcoming conferences, but as we were short on time today (probably due to the large number of participants and thus many individual reports!), we skipped this activity. However, there was a list of conferences on our “agenda”, so I will share them with you here:

Our agenda also includes the dates and locations of future MVAR meetings. The next MVAR will be held on February 16, 2012. However, the location has had to be changed. The National Museum of the United States Air Force was planning to host us in February, but due to circumstances beyond their control, they will no longer be able to do so. Therefore, a new host institution is being sought for the Feb. 16, 2012, date. If your institution would like to host, please contact Rachel Bilokonsky. The dates Aug. 16, 2012, and Nov. 15, 2012, are also still available. May 17, 2012, has already been claimed.

After we had finished all the business that we generally do whilst sitting around a table (hence, roundtable!), Gwen Haney gave us a tour of the newer parts of the Kettering Family Education Center at Carillon Park. The tour included the original Deeds Barn, which was moved from the Kettering-Moraine Museum in 2009 and is housed inside the Kettering Center so it will no longer suffer the effects of Dayton’s weather!

We also checked out the new carousel…

Carousel at Carillon Park

Carousel at Carillon Park

…where as a special treat, we got to take a ride!

My friend and fellow archivist Collette on the carousel

My friend and fellow archivist Collette on the carousel

And then we enjoyed an approximately 20-minute presentation in the new 4-D theater, where [animatronic versions of] John H. Patterson, Wilbur and Orville Wright, Charles F. Kettering, and Edward Deeds talked to us about Dayton’s history. The theater presentation also included some film clips and the occasional rumbling of our seats or spritzing us with water, as appropriate! It was definitely neat!

After the tour, we enjoyed lunch and continued our informal networking. I really do love these meetings. It’s such a great way to keep up to speed on what other archives and museums in the area are up to!

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