Thursday, September 30, 2010

After the Interns

A blog post by archivist and curatorial assistant Jennifer Vess.

This summer we had, I think, the most archives interns we’ve ever had at one time. Three (Kristin, Brittney, and Melina) and all of them dedicated to processing the Baltimore Hebrew University archives. They’re all gone now, back to their normal lives, but the work her at the JMM does not stop.

Processing the Baltimore Hebrew University Archives is a long-term project. It is the largest single collection in the JMM archives. But we have made a lot of progress.

About fourteen months ago the collections staff and interns were arranging boxes and weeding materials at campus of Baltimore Hebrew University.

Jobi and Kim weeding on-site at BHU.

Rachel and Jobi in the moving van.

Since then, with the help of volunteers and our three BHU interns we have completed over a third of the BHU archives processing. 68 boxes of materials have been rehoused, organized, and added to a growing finding aid.

Kristen’s tidy workspace

Melina hard at work on the “Office Files”

After the summer interns left it seemed like a good time to take stock of the collection and make an tweaks necessary to the processing plan. The first step was the Great Box Shift. A year pulling boxes and organizing files left holes in our shelves.

Before the Great Box Shift

So Melina (the last remaining intern) and I closed all of the gaps and consolidated all of the yet to be processed boxes, and all of the all ready processed boxes.

This is what happens when you’re the last intern – you have to move boxes. Thanks Melina!

After the Great Box Shift

After that I concentrated on the 68 boxes of processed materials. Each of the intern focused on their own small portion of the larger BHU collection. They learned a lot about their own project, about the information and people involved in those thousands of pieces of paper. But I need to connect those individual projects together into a single manuscript collection. Which led to more box shifting as I physically and intellectually began piecing together the whole.

Neatly processed and organized BHU archives.

I also made some new connections with the unprocessed materials. As Melina, Brittney, and Kristin learned more about their own collections we were able to see connections that we hadn’t before. Each of them encountered boxes in the financial, office, and people files related specifically to the Freedman files. This meant moving and re-labeling.

Re-labeled box.

With a better sense of what has been done and what needs to be done, we can keep moving forward.

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