March 02, 2008
Back from DC!
ASB, part II:
Last night I had the joy of sleeping once more in my own bed. After an entire day of driving back from DC, I do not envy the New York group (who had an extra hour or two to go). Even thought the weather and such was pretty ideal, I still would just as soon have spent the day somewhere other than in a car.
Nonetheless, it was a wonderful week. We continued processing personal papers, each of us taking the time to focus on a few individuals assigned to us by our mentors. We then chose one and dug up their interviews and photographs, and used this information to prepare a short presentation on the individual for the staff meeting. This is how the staff becomes acquainted with the files in each collection, since they all share reference duty but do not equally share processing. It really helped us to get a sense of what we were working with.
On Friday they prepared a feast of traditional lebanese fare for us and joined us to eat and say goodbye. They made us each a card signed by the staff and we chatted as we ate about...well...anything interesting. I brought up video game archiving and a pretty good discussion ensued. It was nice to be surrounded by professionals in a casual setting, where we could pick their brains without the pressure of raising your hand and articulating something a whole room of people will want to hear, but instead to just chat in a small group about whatever comes up.
Mid-afternoon we realized that we'd accomplished a lot more than we had expected, and so instead of digging into cold storage for more to process in our last two hours there, they gave us the option to hop out once the family papers were done, to get some extra time to talk with people at the Smithsonian, or go see some of its museums before we left town. I took the opportunity to check out a few museums I hadn't hit yet, and do the long, long, long hike out to the FDR and Lincoln memorials.
Now I'm back in Ann Arbor and wish Spring Break were two weeks long...but oh well. It was a wonderful opportunity to visit another city and make invaluable connections while getting hands-on experience under the guidance of professionals who are happy to help you. I know it seems like a lot to fit into your one week off in a busy semester, but I recommend ASB to anyone, especially those with multiple work environments that they'd like to explore. It's a great way to get a taste of one possibility while still having all summer to explore others.
P.S./Once I get my pictures back I'll upload a few. Good stuff!