Tag Archives: NEA

Student Experience: First-time Conference Presenter

This post is part of the Student Experience series, which features current and former archives students as they reflect on graduate school, internships, and early career issues. If you would like to contribute a post for this series, please email me

Guest poster Irina Sandler, Simmons College student and archivist at the Baker Library of Harvard Business School as well as the Cambridge Historical Society, discusses her experience as a first time presenter at the New England Archivists Spring 2017 meeting

There is almost nothing as nerve-wracking as public speaking.

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New England Archivists (NEA) Spring Meeting 2016

Guest author: Kristen Weischedel
MSLIS and MA Dual Degree Student at Simmons College School of Library and Information Science

NEA Spring 2016New England Archivists hosted their annual spring meeting in Portland, Maine from March 31-April 2. This year’s theme was “Uncharted Waters,” examined through a multidisciplinary lens. (You can find more discussion on twitter with #neasp16, each session marked with #sSessionNumber, for example 1.2 is #s102)

The pre-conference options on March 31 included a Day of Service at Maine Historical Society, or one of three workshops, emphasizing different approaches the preservation, description, engagement with different types of records (oral histories, paper records, and electronic records). More about each of these workshops can be found here.

The conference kicked off with a plenary talk by graffiti artist, Caleb Neelon, who talked about the evolution of graffiti in American culture and how he incorporates historical artifacts into his graffitti. Although not an archivist by training, Neelon spoke on how he resonated with the work of archivists and how his graffiti was his way of preserving moments. Continue reading

Archives & Active Learning Workshop

Guest author: Michelle C. Sigiel
MSLIS Student at Simmons College School of Library and Information Science

NEA Workshop 2

Photo by Marilyn Morgan.

This year I had the opportunity to attend an NEA workshop related to how archivists can better facilitate and develop active learning strategies in special collections and archives. As a current student at Simmons College who studies Library and Information Science, this workshop forced me to think about outreach and instruction. Furthermore, it proved me with a framework for how I can work creatively and collaboratively in the future to bring students, teachers, and the public into contact with archival resources. The workshop focused on how to create partnerships with faculty and teachers in K-12 in an effort to further engage key groups of potential users with archives. It also provided further insight and instruction to participants regarding the development of educational and instructional activities beyond a “show-and-tell” style of presentation.

This workshop sought to address some of the struggles archivists frequently face such as the issues of how to present collections in a way that can align with core curriculum requirements or course requirements at a university. It also taught participants how to establish and maintain lasting partnerships with faculty and teachers, and how to craft instructional activities that engage students and make them want to return or further explore the archive’s collections. Four archivists led this workshop: several from academic institutions, a city archives, and the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, providing a great variety of perspectives on how to promote active learning with archival collections. Continue reading

Workshop Recap: New England Archivists (NEA) Fall 2015

Guest author: Gabby Womack
Dual Degree, Archives Management (MS) and History (MA), Simmons College

The New England Archivists (NEA) Fall 2015 Meeting, Exploring the Eye of History, was held on November 7th in Providence, Rhode Island.  The theme of the meeting was 19th century photography and was split into two parts: the morning workshops and the afternoon symposium. The morning workshops were hosted by AS220, a non-profit community arts center in Downtown Providence. Within the workshop, the attendees were split into three groups and rotated through each of the three workshops:

  • A presentation and discussion on 19th Century Techniques in Practice by Kathleen Deep, an artist, photographer, and teacher of photography at the University of Connecticut, and Martha Mahard, an Associate Professor of Practice at Simmons College School of Library and Information Science.
  • A Cyano Type Workshop with Samuel Thompson, a photographer and an instructor in AS220’s Media Arts program.
  • A Wet Plate Collodion Workshop with Brett Henrikson, an artist who performs Collodian demonstrations at locations such as AS220, The Chrysler Museum Glass Studio and the Rhode Island School of Design.

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SAA 2015: Session 505, Regional Advocacy, National Impact

In advance of the 2015 Annual Meeting, we invited SNAP members to contribute summaries of panels, roundtable and section meetings, forums, and pop-up sessions. Summaries represent the opinions of their individual authors; they are not necessarily endorsed by SNAP, members of the SNAP Steering Committee, or SAA.

Session 505 had a large panel compared to other sessions, wherein the archivists discussed how their individual repositories or the state and/or regional associations successfully advocated on behalf of archives and archivists. As panel moderator Rachel Chatalbash, Archivist for the Yale Center for British Art and Co-Chair of the Regional Archival Associations Consortium (RAAC), pointed out, much of the advocacy in our profession is done at the local level, yet unless the issue is big enough to enter the national consciousness, the work is often unnoticed and unacknowledged by SAA. She also said it only took one person invested in an issue to sustain the issue, and she has found that if she kept at it, eventually others joined her cause. Continue reading

REPS-NEA Day of Service 2015

Guest author: Rose Oliveira
MLIS student at Simmons College and Student Liaison for REPS-NEA

On October 17, 2015, the New England Archivists’ (NEA) Roundtable for Early Professionals and Students (REPS) organized our second annual Back to School Day of Service.  Over 35 archivists and students volunteered in repositories in Vermont and Central and Eastern Massachusetts. NEA and REPS began hosting its fall service day in 2014 as an opportunity for new students and archivists at all stages of their career to meet and donate their professional expertise to local institutions. The Day of Service would not be possible without the sites who have welcomed us into their archives and NEA and REPS members giving their time to volunteer and coordinate. We thank everyone who has been involved in the past two years and express our deep gratitude for their participation.

2015 Day of Service

In choosing the locations for the Day of Service, we try to select a broad range of institutions across New England that would benefit from the additional help. Over the past two years we had sites in Central and Eastern Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut. This year we had four repositories participate. In the Boston area, there was the History Project and the USS Constitution Museum’s Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library. The History Project is a volunteer-run community archive focused exclusively on preserving the history of Boston’s LGBT community. Volunteers worked on the Boston Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Youth (BAGLY) records, weeding and creating box and folder lists. The USS Constitution is a private, non-profit museum with a small staff. Within the museum, the library holds a strong collection of primary documents and secondary works, which are of particular interest to historians, educators and ship modelers. Volunteers helped with a backlog project by processing several boxes of museum records. In Worcester, Massachusetts, volunteers had the opportunity to work with the Worcester Refugee Archive at Clark University’s Kasperson Research Library. This repository collects the materials, knowledge, research and resources related to Worcester’s refugee and forced migrant communities and offers resources for researchers, students and community members to learn about and preserve the rich experiences of both newly arrived and well-established populations from refugee backgrounds. Volunteers helped by entering item level descriptions in their WordPress “catablog” and researching orphan works. Finally, in Hardwick, Vermont, volunteers traveled up to the Hardwick Historical Society, a small, all-volunteer run collecting repository dedicated to preserving the history of Hardwick. Volunteers worked on a variety of projects for the historical society and were treated to a lecture by noted historian Charlie Morrissey on oral history.  

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Tales of a First-Timer: The NEA Fall Meeting 2012

Caitlin Birch is a second-year graduate student at Simmons College pursuing an MSLIS with a concentration in Archives Management and an MA in History. She occasionally tweets at @preserCAITion.

When I first volunteered to write a review of the New England Archivists Fall Meeting (held Nov. 2-3 at Simmons College in Boston), I had every intention of summing up the four sessions I attended,NEAFall12Program communicating what I learned from fellow conference goers about the sessions I couldn’t attend, and perhaps recreating the morning coffee spread (in the caffeine department, NEA delivered!). While all of those — OK, two of those — would be valuable uses of this blog space, it occurred to me during my brainstorming that I might have something better to offer.

This year’s NEA Fall Meeting was my first professional conference. Many of you have attended conferences before — I imagine some of you have attended quite a few — but I know there are those of you out there who, like me just a month ago, are still waiting to take the plunge and enter the conference world. SNAP, by its very nature, is a great place for us to share a whole host of professional firsts, and I’m happy to share this first in my career — what I gained, how I’m applying it, and why I’d recommend the experience to SNAPpers everywhere — with all of you.

First: If you’re anything like me, you might be envisioning your first conference with cautious excitement, half-enthused by the knowledge, networking and free food that awaits, half-convinced your shaky first step into the professional conference arena will send you sprawling. I can gladly report that my very first session at NEA was far from terrifying. It was, conveniently enough, “How to Talk to Strangers,” featuring Karen Adler Abramson, Beth Carroll-Horrocks and Laina Lomina, and we not only learned how to talk to strangers, we did a fair share of stranger talking before session’s end. A good chunk of the session was dedicated to discussion amongst the audience, with beginning professionals positing questions about networking strategies, and more seasoned archivists sharing their experiences and advice. It was such a welcoming, productive atmosphere, and I learned right away that conferences are not nearly as intimidating as I had imagined.

Second: Participation is everything at conferences. Especially as a first-time attendee, the temptation to sit back, soak it all in, and will yourself into invisibility is definitely present, but it really is true that the more you put into the conference, the more you will get out of it. For me, this meant that I needed to find a way to engage with the sessions and the community as a whole, and I accomplished that with my good friend, social media. I live-tweeted all four sessions I attended, and by the end of the day, my humble 140-character insights had reached a wider audience through retweets (some from SNAP!), I had conversed and forged professional bonds with fellow archivists (both within and outside the conference), and I had preserved the most important bits of my newly acquired knowledge in a series of easily accessible notes, without ever putting pen to paper. Live-tweeting, of course, isn’t the only way to go, but I would encourage all first-time conference attendees to dive in and get involved in the manner best suited to you.

Third, and finally: I found it very worthwhile to reflect on what I’d like to do differently in the days after the conference. It’s pretty easy to criticize yourself for the things you didn’t do — I should have struck up more conversations with unfamiliar faces, I should have asked better questions in sessions, I should have remembered that lunch was provided before I purchased an overpriced panini — but it’s a lot harder to give yourself credit for the things you did do and morph any regrets into goals for your next conference. And that’s the key here: you’re more than likely going to have a next conference! I am already looking forward to the NEA Spring Meeting (March 21-23, 2013 at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.) and thinking about how I can do more, give more and get more from a conference now that I have my first one behind me. Take time for reflection after Conference Number One, and realize that this is the beginning of a very exciting part of your professional development. For me, the NEA Fall Meeting was a great induction into the conference world, and I look forward to meeting many of you SNAPpers at conferences on the horizon.