The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina – Part 5: The young and the archives

Outreach was a big topic at the conference.  Working in a museum, I’ve seen the efforts that our programming team puts towards outreach and I am always looking at ways to increase the archives profile in the programming area.

 Excellent case studies were presented where archivists actively went out to reach different audiences.

WWI letters from a Oshawa soldier becomes part of the curriculum

Particularly interesting were the efforts to reach a young, school audience, which may not be typically seen as a primary user group of archives. 
Jennifer Weymark of Oshawa Community Museum partnered with a local high school to incorporate archival materials into their curriculum to teach about World War I. The museum used a diary they had from a local WWI soldier, which became a focal point to teach about the war in school.

Students create their own portrait of a soldier

Rachel Beattie speaks on the Degrassi trivia night session

Another great outreach presented by Rachel Beattie at Media Commons of the University of Toronto. She developed a trivia night session based on their holdings on the tv show Degrassi. This reached out to a wide group of people interested in Canadian pop culture.  All of the presenters clearly illustrated that a lot of time and effort goes into outreach, but it is something that can result in some very positive exposure and use of the archives.

Good tips I learned
  •  Try not to hold your major events in the winter where cold nights could scare people away. 
  •  All archivists; brush up on your cursive writing skill or at the very least how to read cursive writing!  Many children are no longer being taught cursive writing and this leads to difficulty in reading older documents resulting in a lot of work transcribing documents in the archives.

It was another informative conference put together by the ACA. It was great to see some old friends and colleagues and see the progress archivists are making in their never ending efforts to bring awareness to the archives. I hope that readers will get a better sense of the archives are about and what we have to offer.