Friday in the Archives: a few of my favorite things

Guest blogger: Mariecris

students looking at archival materials.One of the aspects that I really enjoy about working at A&SC are the tours and workshops we provide to students, faculty, and community members.  On Friday, June 18th, I had the opportunity to give a tour to four incoming freshman and their faculty mentor, Dr. Gabriel Garcia from Public Health. Two of the students were Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) students: Concepcion A. Melovida and Jasmine George.  The other two were Step Up students for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK): Kelsey E. Powell and Nina Pastor.

Early in the week, Dr. Garcia called wondering if I could provide a tour for his mentees. He had already set up an instruction session with Sally Bremner, one of our health science librarians, and thought they should get a chance to see the archives as well. I have worked with Dr. Garcia on a few projects and was glad to hear that he thought of the archives when he thought about resources he would like to show his students! After promptly saying, “YES!” he gave me an idea of what types of programs the students were interested in and I went from there.students posing for the camera

Friday morning I gathered some materials that might be of interest.  Since Concepcion and Janine were interested in engineering I pulled out 4 folders from the Edwin Crittenden collection that contained photographs of experimental houses in Napaskiak, Eek, Aniak, Beaver, and Kotzebue.  Crittenden was an architect and interested in historic preservation and learning more about building in Arctic climes. Dr. Garcia mentioned that Kelsey and Nina have an interest in public health. So I went ahead pulled out some materials from the Alaska Health Project that dealt with the Exxon Valdez oil spill and their investigations into the side effects cleanup workers were or would experience during the cleanup. For fun, I pulled some slides from the William E. McNutt photographic slides that depicted a fire fighting exercise in the fifties; the Alaska Repertory Theater’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream production book and photographs from the production; the Edmund G. Smith World War II diary, and an album from the Michael Philip papers and photographs that had pictures taken while filming Eskimo.  After a brief tour they got a chance to explore the materials and ask questions.  And they asked some great questions, we even had a chance to talk about copyright issues in archives.  One of my favorite questions was, “You mean I can come here and read stuff if I want to?”… YES! Edmund’s diary was a big hit and one of the students expressed interest in returning to read people’s diaries.  But who wouldn’t like reading people’s diaries! For snip-its of the diary, check out my blog entry: Dear Diary.

Dr. Garcia showing technology changes over timeAlso, Dr. Garcia especially enjoyed our ghosts of technology’s past exhibit in the reading room. It even inspired nostalgia for Dr. Garcia who took a picture of iPhone together with the Mac computer (circa late 1980s), just like the one he used to have. Concepcion, Kelsey, Nina, and Jasmine were intrigued by AMIPA’s television in the reading room (1953), that still works, digital cable aside. All in all, I hope they had fun. I know I did. Plus I got to do some of my favorite things: look at some of my favorite collections, give a tour, and encourage people to come to the Archives! So thanks to Dr. Garcia, Concepcion, Kelsey, Nina, and Jasmine for making my Friday a lot of fun!