"Where should a researcher go to find photographs of the world’s first solarpower plant, built in Egypt in the 1910s by a Philadelphia-based inventor? Or the scrapbooks of renowned actress, singer, and special representative to the United Nations Pearl Bailey?
Or the records of the oldest continuously existing troop in the US National Guard? These important collections are not held at well-known, professionally run archival institutions, but at small repositories without professional archivists on staff."
HSP's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR), a three-phase project to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of the numerous small archival and manuscript repositories in the Philadelphia area, has been featured in the Society of American Archivist's newest issue of Archival Outlook.
To read the article about building an inclusive community of archival practice in the five-county Philadelphia area, please click here (page 4).
HCI-PSAR project is currently in Phase III, running from November 2014 through April 2016. Project staff will continue identifying area small repositories, writing descriptions of their archival collections for inclusion in an online catalog, and providing the participating repositories with assessment reports on their collections. The scope of the project has also expanded to include more types of repositories with significant archival holdings, such as churches, fraternal and ethnic organizations, and community groups.
Additionally, project staff will offer training programs, foster information-sharing opportunities, and work to create sustainable advances in professionalism and capacity among small archives in the region. Project staff will also promote HCI-PSAR as a national model, presenting on the project at professional conferences and working with archivists in other parts of the country to develop small repository initiatives in their areas.
Project staff includes Project Director Jack McCarthy, Project Coordinator Andree Mey Miller, Lead Surveyor Sarah Leu, Surveying and Outreach Archivist Anastasia Matijkiw. HSP's Director of Archives and Collections Management Matthew Lyons serves as Project Supervisor. Former Senior Project Surveyor Celia Caust-Ellenbogen is now at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.
Follow the adventures of Project Surveyors for the Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories as they visit historical societies, museums, historic sites, and other small archival repositories in the five-county Philadelphia area.