Introducing NSDAR’s Archival Collections to Fellow Archivists

Written by: Tracy Robinson, DAR Director of Archives and History
September 21, 2018

As many of you are aware, DAR employs three archivists including me. Our responsibilities include the management of both the NSDAR Archives and the Americana Collection including acquisitions, collections use and maintenance, reference services, and educational and outreach activities including exhibit planning and installation.

Archivists are professionals who ensure important records will be available for research use by future generations. It’s an archivist’s job to acquire appropriate material to add to the collection, to guarantee that diverse materials are safely stored for long-term preservation, and to see that materials are sufficiently described so that they may quickly be retrieved for research use.  

We recently had a great opportunity to share our NSDAR archival collections with fellow archivists from around the country and teach them more about the work of the DAR when the Society of American Archivists (SAA) held their annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in August. Founded in 1936, SAA is the oldest and largest national archival professional association in the United States. SAA's mission is to serve the educational needs of its more than 6,200 members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of records of historical value. The group sponsors dozens of continuing education classes around the country each year as well as an annual meeting every summer.

In addition to attending this year’s annual meeting, we also hosted a tour of our repository for several fellow archivists who chose to attend our event among several available in and around Washington that day. The group toured both the NSDAR Archives and the Americana Room and was shown a variety of items including Real Daughter spoons and the Amelia Earhart signature from the Archives and signatures of some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence from the Americana Collection.

Membership in the Society of American Archivists helps further our professional development which in turn better informs our work managing the DAR’s archival collections. It’s also been a great way to introduce the public to the DAR. NSDAR Archivist Amanda Vasquez recently was asked by SAA to take over its Instagram feed for a day which means she had the opportunity to share unique DAR archival items and stories with SAA’s Instagram audience.

In addition to our tour at DAR Headquarters, we were involved in other activities at the annual meeting including day-long classes needed for maintaining professional certifications, a series of one- and two-hour educational sessions, workshops, committee meetings, and social events. We look forward to attending next year’s meeting in Austin, TX.

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