Webinar~Archivists: Who Are They and What Do They Do?

Hosted by the Association of Professional Genealogists

About the Presenter:
Melissa Barker is a Certified Archives Records Manager currently working as the Houston County, Tennessee archivist. She is also a professional genealogist lecturing, teaching and writing about the genealogy research process, researching in archives and records preservation. She conducts virtual webinar presentations all across the United States for genealogical and historical societies. She writes a popular blog entitled “A Genealogist in the Archives.” She is the Reviews Editor for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) magazine FORUM. She writes a bi-weekly advice column entitled “The Archive Lady” that can be viewed at www.GeneaBloggers.com. She has been researching her own family history for the past 26 years.

Don’t let age deter you from becoming an archivist!

You know you’re an archivist when working with “old” items (documents, photographs, ephemera, etc.) never gets old!

“Every genealogist should be an archivist and every archivist should be a genealogist!” ~ Melissa Barker ~ “An archivist’s work is never done!”

Archivist: Appraising, acquiring, arranging, describing, preserving, and providing access to records of enduring value

*Some people don’t know what an archivist or archives is; some people are overwhelmed when visiting an archives*

Check for state library and archives organizations for training!

Educational requirements vary from institution to institution.

Certified Archivist (C.A.) Certificate Program (Academy of Certified Archivists)

Society of American Archivists Certificate Program and Graduate Program in Archival Studies

Certified Archivist (C.A.): 1987, set standards for professional certification; today, there are 1,131 archivists in the US

Some have backgrounds in history, art, library science, etc.  Some are historians, archives directors, archives managers, records managers, librarians, etc.

Archivists who specialize: Specific type of collections (manuscripts, photographs), specific geographic location (southern states, midwestern states, Civil War), only work with born digital records (never on paper, electronic, digital photographs) or digitizing archived records, specific genre (women’s history, military history)

How to find a job? ArchivesGig.wordpress.com

Society of American Archivists career center

How to get experience? VOLUNTEER! County, state, and organizational archives.

“Lone Arranger” Succeeding in a Small Repository by Christina Zamon

Job Duties: Obtaining and accessing records, govt records transferred to archives; historical and genealogical records donations; every step of transfer or donation is documented (deed of gift); organize and store records (original order is essential); sorting, labeling, filing, and re-housing of records (archival quality boxes/file folders); create a finding aid; indexing; organizing records and artifacts for display; plan and arrange upcoming exhibits and displays; preservation and conservation (clean and flatten documents); daily statistics (sign-in book, records processed, requests, donations); correspondence; help with walk-in researchers, pull records and help read old handwriting; budget and purchasing (compile and present a budget for approval), take stock and purchase archival materials; apply for grant money (always looking for funding!); outreach (open houses, speak to local groups, host tours for schools and adult leadership groups)

Tools of the trade: White gloves, spatula for removing staples, brush, acid-free products

This was a truly wonderful webinar, very thorough and detailed, including many real-world examples.  I’m so glad I was able to view it live!

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