Preservation Week 2021 Resources
Happy Preservation Week 2021! Preservation Week, April 25 – May 1, 2021, celebrates the importance of preservation and promotes the role of cultural institutions in preserving personal and public collections and artifacts.
This year’s theme is Preserving Community Archives: “Community archives are organized by members of physical or self-identified communities—specifically those marginalized by traditional collecting institutions—and are focused on documenting and interpreting their own histories.”
Over the past year, we have shared several blog posts on this theme in DHPSNY’s ongoing Antiracism Resources blog series, which features antiracist resources for collecting institutions in New York, while highlighting new and innovative projects that are working to preserve the history of marginalized communities. As part of our observance of Preservation Week, below, we’ve compiled a list of our recent posts from the series that examine community archives and initiatives that stress meaningful collaboration and an understanding that successful preservation is more than collection development and acquisition.
For additional ways to observe the week, check out free events from The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York (ART) and the Library of Congress. The American Library Association (ALA) also has free Preservation Week webinars on demand and resources, including Creating a Digital Community Archive, Disaster Recovery and Preparedness, and Quick Preservation Tips.
"Acknowledging that primary sources are the keys to understanding history and access to those materials helps communities to connect to their past, the African American Historical Records Project, coordinated by the Schenectady County Historical Society (SCHS), will create an online catalog of historical records with the Black Community in Schenectady."
"The Buffalo East Side History Project is built on the pioneering work of Dr. Monroe Fordham to preserve the history of African American communities in New York State, and work done by the Urban Studies Department and the Greater Buffalo United Ministries (GRUM) as part of a Community Health Needs Assessment. Both project partners and GRUM recognized that historically Black churches were the custodians of invaluable documentation of Black communities that are traditionally excluded from the historical record."
"Because much of our lives, including efforts to correct racial inequalities, involve the internet and social media, your collecting organization may want to implement new digital projects to document change in your community. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in partnership with the Internet Archive has developed a curriculum for creating community web archives that could be used to document how one’s own local community is responding to demands for racial equity and justice."
"In Brooklyn, the Weeksville Heritage Center is “an historic site and cultural center” that works to “preserve, document and inspire engagement with the history of Weeksville, one of the largest free Black communities in pre-Civil War America.” Among many activities that explore and celebrate Black History and culture, the Center has opened the 5th of July Resource Center for Self-Determination & Freedom. The accessible digital collections include a wide range of Oral History projects and recordings from people in central Brooklyn."
Image: “Revisiting Artist Member Garland Eliason-French’s archives with niece Laura Eliason,” 2019; Visual AIDS (A community-based archive and 2020 DHPSNY alum)