The COVID-19 pandemic is an unsettling event in the history of New York State. DHPSNY, the New York State Archives, and the New York State Library recognize the gravity of the situation and want members of the historic records community to prioritize their individual safety and public health in general. We also recognize that a number of organizations have begun working on projects to document the impact of the pandemic on their communities.
For the latest chat in our ongoing Q&A series, we caught up with Leslie Hoffman, Historian at Saranac Village at Will Rogers, home of the National Vaudeville Artists Lodge / Will Rogers Memorial Hospital in Saranac Lake, NY (Clinton County). Since we last spoke, the history of the Will Rogers, formerly a tuberculosis hospital built to treat America's Vaudeville stars, has taken on new significance as the world copes with a new respiratory illness and an uncertain path to a new normal.
Maria Holden, Preservation Officer at the NYS Office of Cultural Education, gave a thorough and information overview of space planning for collecting institutions in last week’s webinar Space Planning: Getting Started. She discussed strategies for making the most of available storage space as well as the best practices and current standards for housing and storing institutional collections. Specifically, she shared an approach to space planning based on functions and the importance of keeping collection storage, access, and work areas functionally separate.
Next week, DHPSNY will be conducting the first two of three upcoming Conversations on Local History to take place online. Join us on Tuesday, April 21 at 2:00 PM for the Capital District Conversation and on Thursday, April 23rd at 10:00 AM for the Western New York Conversation.
We are excited to introduce the DHPSNY COVID-19 Information Aggregate, a weekly updated collection of resources to support New York's collecting institutions. To help institutions navigate this period of uncertainty, this collection tracks an array of the best sources around, including newly accessible on-demand learning opportunities, funding for cultural institutions, and the latest updates from local, state, federal, and international leaders in the field.
If you missed last week's webinar Common Collection Conditions: Assessing the Condition of Your Paper-Based Collections, the recording is now available to view below as well as on our Webinars page and YouTube channel. In this popular presentation, CCAHA Senior Paper Conservator Heather Hendry discussed common factors that affect paper collections as well as how prioritize items by level of concern to allow caretakers to allocate resources within an overall preservation plan.
In light of COVID-19, DHSPNY and NYCON are working to pivot the upcoming Conversations on Local History to be hosted online. We are appreciative of the positive response so far, from those who have registered, expressed interest, and submitted comments or questions regarding the accessibility of the regional schedule.
The key change is that the Capital District, Western New York, and Northern New York Conversations will be conducted online via Zoom on following dates:
Your safety and well-being is our highest priority as we respond to COVID-19 and its effects on New York communities. Although many of our events and services must be canceled, postponed, or moved online, please know that the DHPSNY team is here for you—more than ever, during this uncertain time, we hope our services, resources, and community can offer inspiration, connection, guidance, and hope.
DHPSNY Archives Specialist Kate Philipson gave a compelling case for utilizing processing plans in last week’s presentation The Process of Processing: Creating and Implementing Processing Plans. After giving an overview of archival processing, Kate explained what a processing plan is, why you should want to create one, and how to approach writing your own. She also answered a lot of thoughtful questions from the audience and provided a wealth of additional resources.
We are sharing the following guidance from the New York State Department of Health regarding public gatherings, public spaces and private sector organizations in order to keep the community of NYS collecting institutions informed about efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate this is a rapidly changing situation and will continue to provide relevant and accurate updates that impact our community.