Monday, September 29, 2014

Archiving secrets revealed

Good glimpse of what an archivist does in this New York Times article, which profiles Mary Hedge in her daily work at New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority and as she prepares for an exhibit that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The exhibit opens on October 30 at the New York Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn. The 1920s newspaper (image at right, courtesy MTA Bridges & Tunnels Special Archive) was an imaginary depiction that came true when the V-N opened in 1964. 

My favorite part of the piece: The archivist "records oral histories when longtime transit executives approach the end of their service. She interviewed the officers who were on duty in the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel on Sept. 11, 2001, as people fled Manhattan following the terrorist attack, and after Hurricane Sandy she recorded the stories of staff members who were involved in dealing with the storm and cleanup. 'Retirements and disasters,' she said." recently helped recruit an archivist for one of our current clients. She and an assistant did a tremendous amount of work in a single week, bringing box-level order to almost 40 years worth of paper. This material will support other projects in the client's history plan. The client was thrilled and is considering bringing the team back to archive its digital items. It was a good reminder that companies can keep archives under their own roof (no need to pay monthly fees to a warehouse) -- and that even a small investment in archiving pays ongoing dividends.