They say you can’t go home again, except that sometimes you can.
Two years ago, I made a hard decision to step away from my work as an archivist after six years at the Michigan Tech Archives for the opportunity to work closely with Library Director Ellen Marks as a member of the library’s management team. It is my very good fortune to return as acting University Archivist, filling the vacancy left by Erik Nordberg four short weeks ago.
The Archives has gone through some changes in two years. The biggest challenge the Archives faces is met by the remarkable team of Disaster Recovery Associates, Airen Campbell-Olszewski, Allyse Stahler, Shannon Houle, and Quincy Higgins Arney. You can read about the Archives’ long journey to recovery from a small fire and the subsequent water issues arising from the responding sprinklers in this blog. A few days ago, the last shipment of 350 boxes of material, was delivered from restoration company Belfor, marking the home stretch for this phase of disaster recovery.
Progress continues apace as NHPRC-funded senior project archivist Rachael Bussert and processing archivist Daniel Michelson apply professional standards of archival arrangement and description to a select group of our collections in order to make them easier to find and work with by interested researchers.
The Archives is always busy in the summer, when visitors come from all across the US and often from outside the country to explore our rich and varied genealogical collections. This summer will be especially exciting, as we anticipate many new friends by way of FinnFest 2013. Archives staff will collaborate with the Houghton County Genealogical Society at the FinnFest Tori to provide information about genealogical resources for visitors searching for information about ancestors who may have lived and worked in the Copper Country.
Not everything in the in Archives has changed. Archivist Beth Russell, who first came to us through another grant and stayed on as a permanent staff member, has improved access to archival collections and rediscovered a wealth of material that has helped bring voice to the lives of people documented in previously obscure manuscripts. Sawyer Newman, who began as a student three years ago, is now a pillar of the public service desk.
The Archives continues its strong commitment to public programming as well. Travel grant researcher Robert Goodrich will visit the Archives this month, and will give a talk on his research into how the Austrian Habsburg dynasty shaped the ethnic identity of Copper Country immigrants. Goodrich’s presentation will be at 7 PM on Thursday, June 13, in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.
It’s an exciting time to be coming home to the Archives. Four weeks have flown by as I reacquaint myself with collections and colleagues, meeting old friends and making new ones.
Archives are full of stories. I’ve told you a little bit of mine, and I look forward to hearing yours.