Guest blogger: Mariecris
Today was the second time I participated in the UAA workshop series, “I’m going to College,” in which fifth and sixth graders were invited to UAA to participate in workshops that provide them the opportunity to see all the cool stuff they can learn and use at UAA.
This year was an interesting workshop because it required thinking quickly on my feet. Sure, working with students under the age of 13 can put anyone on edge. But I was working with students under the age of 13, who were roughly 20 minutes late and walked a long way to get here (from the Wendy Williamson). As a result, I needed to adjust the workshop a bit and nix the game I had planned. Once the students had settled in I quickly went over what type of archives we were, what types of materials we had, and who could use them.
Thankfully I had a chance to go through a series of images from the O.C. and Ruth Connelly photograph album. Ruth Connelly was a school teacher in Savoonga in the late thirties and early forties. In her album were numerous pictures of students, the schoolhouse, and the community activities that happened in the schoolhouse. I selected a few images for them and let them guess where the images were taken and when. One of the exciting moments was when two students raised their hands and said that they were from Savoonga. They thought it was so cool that we had pictures of Savoonga back in the thirties. One of the students from Savoonga was a young lady who told me about the beads some of the female students in the pictures wore in their hair. She does the same thing when she dances and was excited to see the students in the pictures wearing them! Her excitement reinforced the reason why I and many other archivists perform outreach to our communities. We have so many archival materials in our collection that it is great to find what people will find meaningful to their work or own personal interests and history. Many people are unaware that we hold such materials or that they can event access them.
Hopefully after visiting the archives and learning a little bit more about what we have, they will remember that archives may have materials they are interested in seeing and that they are welcome to see them!