Today Mariecris Gatlabayan had the great opportunity to work with two groups of fifth and six graders here to attend the UAA-sponsored “I’m going to college” days. They came over to explore what an archives is, what types of things we have,and what kinds of things can be done with archives.
Most of the students had never heard of “archives” before. They learned that archives keep and preserve “one-of-a- kind materials” so that people can study them. Once Mariecris showed them examples of different types of archival material, comments like “whoa” and “cool” were heard. They explored the Edwin Glenn diary from the Cook Inlet expedition of 1898, Fred Odlin ‘s letters home that he wrote while working aboard the Alaska Steamship Company’s Curacao, Gordon P. Granade’s photo album from his time in Alaska with the Coast Guard, William L. McNutt’s 1950s color slides that show an Anchorage Fire Department exercise, and the O.C. and Ruth Connelly photo album from a schoolteacher in Savoonga.
Then teams were given five photographs from the Connelly collection and had to come up with a list of who would use these photographs and why. The winning team from each class–the ones with the longest lists–would get their photographs posted on our blog and bragging rights.
So who did they think could use the photos? Anthropologists, teachers, students, authors, historians, scientists, photographers, and more. And the research topics? Alaska Native culture, family history, what kids played with in the past, what they learned in school, how fur was produced, what girls did in school. Students also talked about how the pictures could be used in student projects, books, and documentaries. And since every team did so well in both classes, we decided to put in group photos of both classes.
We thank each participant in the workshop, students, teachers, and volunteers, for your enthusiasm and participation!
As Mariecris says: “We want to give them props for kickin’ it old school with us!”