Year in the Life: Steve Ammidown, Pt. 1

Welcome Steve Ammidown, our newest participant in the Year in the Life Series! We will be following Steve for the next twelve months.

img_1501-1Name: Steve Ammidown
Position: Archivist
Institution: Gilman School
Years at position: <1
Education: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (BA- Sociology, Certificate- Gender & Women’s Studies), University of Maryland, College Park (MLS- concentration in Archives, Information & Records Management)

I am the School Archivist at Gilman School in Baltimore, Maryland. Gilman was founded in 1897 as the Country Day School for Boys in Baltimore, and kicked off a nationwide craze for “day schools”. In fact my own high school, Providence Country Day School in East Providence, Rhode Island, was modeled on the Gilman approach. So while I didn’t set out to be a prep school archivist it’s not an unfamiliar setting for me, which I think gives me a unique perspective on the work I do.

My job at Gilman is easily as much “School Historian” as it is School Archivist. I write about school history for our blog, and I’ve spent a lot of time annotating videos on our YouTube channel. Reference questions come in every day from faculty and staff as well as alumni and their families, outside researchers, and the odd newspaper reporter. I’ve memorized a lot of facts in seven months, but I’m fortunate to have a hundred-plus years of school newspapers, registers, and yearbooks to draw on for answers, though the solution does not always come easily.

While I’ve been at Gilman since February, September marks the first beginning of a school year that I’ve gone through. There are two major projects underway- the digitization of old football films, and the scanning of our entire yearbook run (both projects are being done by vendors)- that I hope will have a huge impact on the visibility and usability of the archives. I’m also embarking on a year-long set of projects with one of our third-grade teachers that will bring those kids into contact with archival materials years earlier than at most schools.

It should be quite a year- stay tuned!

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