MVAR Recap 8/16/2012

Today 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 the Marianist Archives (archives for the religious order Society of Mary). Our hosts were Brother John Habjan, S.M., Jennifer Gerth, and Kim Neuenschwander, archivists.

The Marianist Archives is physically located in the Roesch Library at University of Dayton (Dayton, Ohio), which is a Marianist university, but the Marianist Archives itself is not actually a part of the university. (It’s kind of like how Vatican City is surrounded by Rome but has its own government.) They also like people to understand that they are also separate from the Marianist Library and the University of Dayton Archives (although I can understand how it might be confusing!).

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Rachel Bilokonsky, MVAR Chair, started off the meeting by announcing that this was her last meeting as MVAR Chair. She is passing on the proverbial torch to…me, actually. Effective now—or whenever I get the email list and the MVAR archives files from her, for sure!—I am the new chair of the Miami Valley Archives Roundtable.

After that announcement, we did the institutional reports.

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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:

Rachel Bilokonsky, the MVAR chairwoman and University of Dayton archivist, shared that the University Archives is still tweaking their recent implementation of the Archivists’ Toolkit. She also mentioned that they recently finished up re-housing the 500+ boxes of the papers of former Dayton area Congressman Charles W. Whalen, Jr. , using money from an OHRAB grant they recently received.

James Zimmerlin of the Records Center & Archives of Warren County passed around a (duplicated) copy of an 1861 newspaper they recently found in the archives. He also introduced his intern Tricia and a volunteer Ryan. Tricia discussed a Civil War exhibit she has been creating, as well as describing how her research into Warren Co. Civil War sailors kept evolving and leading into other interesting topics. (I know how that can be!)

Tina Ratcliff of the Montgomery County Records Center & Archives talked a little bit about how they have helped with some of the research for the Patterson Boulevard Canal Parkway Project, which will help connect the Oregon District with the riverfront. The Parkway will include pylons with historical information. (We – Dayton Metro Library Local History – helped with that research, too. I’m looking forward to seeing some of our historic photographs on those pylons soon! Not to mention how glad I will be when the construction on Patterson — which runs along the back side of the Main Library — is finished.)

Gillian Hill and Joan Donovan of the Greene County Archives & Records Center have been spending a lot of time lately updating their database with the new locations of items, since their move to a new facility (see MVAR 5/17/2012).

Galen Wilson of NARA’s Dayton branch said he has been working with creating records schedules for federal government social media records. He also mentioned that he recently attended Dayton History‘s “Old Case Files” murder mystery theater performance at the Old Court House and really enjoyed it. (I remember helping with some of the research for that, too; this year it was the 1876 murder trial of Harry Adams.)

Angeline Hellman of Clark State Community College Archives was pleased to report that she now knows the contents of all the boxes in their archives, which has been a great help in answering reference questions!🙂

Jennifer Gerth and Kim Neuenschwander of the Marianist Archives shared an article from the Summer 2012 issue of University of Dayton Magazine (pg. 61 print, pg. 32 in the PDF) about the Bellinghausen glass plate negatives collection, which includes lots (about 1,200!) of cool 19th century images of Hawaii, where Bro. Bellinghausen was assigned at the time. Jennifer also shared about a recent history-themed vacation she took, which included stops at Kitty Hawk, NC (Wright Brothers’ flight); Raleigh, NC (lost colony of Roanoke); and Colonial Wiliamsburg.

Bro. John Habjan, S.M., of the Marianist Archives, shared about the progress he has made in weeding out multiple duplicates of publications and other items, which has helped create a little more space in the archives. He has also had some luck recently in identifying formerly unidentified group photos, by sending a photocopy of the image to someone he is able to recognize in the photo, and that person can often identify the event and (at least some of) the other people.

Natalie Fritz of the Clark County Historical Society has been processing the collection of a previous Springfield mayor. She also announced that the museum will be creating a companion exhibit to go with a theater production surrounding Newsweek’s 50th anniversary article “The American Dream” (1983), which featured Springfield. They are also still working on processing probate records through the funding from a recent OHRAB grant. Another one of the Historical Society’s employees, Mel Glover, talked about how they’ve been revamping their collection policy.

Shari Christie of Air Force Research Laboratory History Office (at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) said they have been receiving a lot of new records from the Aeronautical Systems Center, since it is being reorganized.

Sr. Noreen Jutte of the Sisters of the Precious Blood talked about the progress of their renovations.

Judy Deeter of the Troy Historical Society talked about working with the 1913 Flood Commemoration Committee. They are also producing an Arcadia book about Troy during the 1913 Flood, as well as working on another book for the Troy bicentennial, which is in 2014.

Jillian Slater of the Marianist Archives talked about working with their CONTENTdm digital collections, as well as mentioning that they’ve had lots of reference questions recently thanks to the International Marion Research Institute.

Colleen Mahoney, the archivist for the Catholic Special Collections at University of Dayton, recently attended the Oral History Institute held at Kenyon College and sponsored by the Ohio Humanities Council. She highly recommends it.

Noelle Rihm, a graduate student in the Wright State University Public History program, recently completed an internship at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, including working on an exhibit called “Semper Fly.”

Mary Milburn of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor talked about how they have been working to organize a lot of materials from their attic, as well as visiting sites that were formerly hospitals affiliated with their order.

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When it was my turn to report (as archivist at the Dayton Metro Library), I shared that I was glad that I could talk about something other than the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection in regards to my manuscript processing activities. I have processed several small collections since finishing the FPW (one of our largest) this spring.

I mentioned writing on the blog here, working on posting the Bio Sketches to the blog (as I’m sure you’ve seen if you’re reading this!), and how I’ve been answering “ex post facto” reference questions. I also noted that I’ve received several reference questions through people finding this blog. It seems like there have been a lot more in recent weeks, maybe because of all the Bio Sketches I’ve posted.

In response to Jennifer’s story about her history vacation (I spoke just after she did), I mentioned that I recently visited Greenfield Village for the first time, after taking the Certified Archivist exam in Detroit last week. I enjoyed Greenfield Village, especially seeing the Wright Family Home and the Wright interpreters (although I wish they had made the guy playing Orville wear a stick-on mustache, at least, if he wasn’t going to grow one (see photo) — that’s how most people tell them apart, if they can at all! lol).

And finally, perhaps the most exciting thing : Our IT staff upgraded our CONTENTdm from version 6.0 to version 6.1.3+ a couple of days ago, so our digital collections on Dayton Remembers now have added features. For instance, users can add comments or download images. (I intend to write a separate post about this, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet…)

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*** OLD ***

After the institutional reports, we went over the list of relevant upcoming conferences:

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Future MVAR Meeting Dates:

November 15, 2012
February 21, 2012
May 16, 2013
August 15, 2013

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!🙂

Also, this round it is not really a problem (since only one of those dates has been claimed), but I don’t like to announce publicly where the meetings are. What if we have crashers? Or like that thing where at least one person is always absent from the State of the Union Address, in case someone bombs it? (You never know, somebody might have it in for all the archivists of the Miami Valley. Hey, it come happen. We are rock stars!) But the point is: if you don’t know where the next meeting is, contact me, and I’ll be happy to tell you — as long as you seem, you know, legit.

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Next was the tour. I had never been to the Marianist Archives before, so I was really interested to see it.

The reading room was very nice:

Reading Room, Marianist Archives (Dayton, Ohio)

Reading Room, Marianist Archives (Dayton, Ohio)

And so were the stacks:

Part of the storage area, Marianist Archives (Dayton, Ohio)

Part of the storage area, Marianist Archives (Dayton, Ohio)

I particularly liked all the exhibits they had around the room. One featured a time capsule cornerstone from 1914. That was pretty cool.

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After the tour, several of us headed out to the lunch portion of the meeting, which was held at Jimmie’s Ladder 11, which is located in a renovated fire house on the corner of Brown and Wyoming streets. Jennifer arranged for the owner, Jimmie Brandell, and the builder/remodeler (one Mr. Mark Shannon, I think he said) to talk to us about the history of the building and the renovation. That part was super-cool; I really enjoyed it. I especially liked hearing about all the old things they were able to re-use from their building and other nearby homes and buildings. (You can read some of their “story” on their web site.)

The builder looked very familiar; I think I helped him once or twice at the library. (I probably sound like “Oh I helped everyone” in this post — but sometimes things just come together like that! And that is one of the joys of what we do – you get to say “I helped with Cool Project X” sometimes.)

I meant to take some pictures before I left, but in the bustle of knowing I needed to get back to work, I forgot. But there are some pictures on the Jimmie’s Ladder 11 web site, so you should check that out. Their menu is also on there. I had never been there before, but today I had the “Italiano” sandwich, and I can tell you that it was quite tasty. Everyone else’s food looked yummy, too.

Another successful (and fun) MVAR meeting on the books!

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