Workshop is free

To be held at Brunswick County Conference Center

In association with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (SI-NMAAHC) Robert Frederick Smith (RFS) Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History and the James Solomon Russell - Saint Paul’s College Museum and Archives (JSR/SPC) a Community Archiving Workshop will be held on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Brunswick County Conference Center, 100 Athletic Field Road, Lawrenceville, VA 23868, First Floor, Saint Paul’s Room. The public is invited to attend the workshop where experts from NMAAHC come together with JSR/SPC members to develop an archiving strategy for this community’s collections. Learn archiving skills and hear about how specific steps for preservation and access can be organized and applied directly to your organization’s needs. There is no cost to participate but there are a limited number of spaces available for the workshop. Lunch will be provided. For more information or to register, please contact James Grimstead, Chairman, JSR/SPC Museum and Archives, (434) 848-2173.

The workshop is partnering with the JSR/SPC Museum and Archives and NMAAHC staff members to process collections of audio, video and photographs. Workshop participants will receive training and engage in hands-on processing, cataloging and inspection of historical assets. By doing so, participants will learn how to identify risk factors and make preservation recommendations for moving and still image collections, as well as gain experience in working with audio recording formats to care for their own collections. Most importantly, they will make it possible for JSR/SPC Museum and Archives to preserve the school’s history for future generations. 

The purpose of the workshop is to support inventorying and assessment of the collections of St. Paul’s College, a now defunct Historically Black College and University (HBCU) with a culturally significant archive documenting the institution’s growth and development of the students, faculty, staff and alumni from the founding of the privately supported liberal arts college in 1888 through the closing in 2013. We are working with a group of dedicated alumni and community supporters of the local museum to train them in assessing the condition of photographs and oral history recordings in the archives, and to begin a complete inventory of their materials, which were rescued from major loss and destruction when the campus closed, and its physical plant sold.

The Community Archiving Workshop provides community historians the opportunity to serve regional organizations and work with local volunteers to help the JSR/SPC Museum and Archives gain intellectual and physical control over some of its most fragile historical documents and recordings.

About the Community Archiving Workshop: 

CAW has its roots in the Activist Archiving workshops organized by Mona Jimenez, professor emeritus in the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program (MIAP) at New York University. In 2010, Jimenez worked with the Independent Media Interest Group of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) to hold the first workshop in conjunction with the AMIA conference. The goal was to support archiving in communities where AMIA conferences were held each year. Since that time, CAW has grown into a collective with a rotating group of core members (and dozens of partners) who direct the program and determine its vision.

The first community archiving workshop was held at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY (2009) and the second at Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, PA (2010). The Independent Media Committee began hosting the event in 2011 at the Austin (TX) History Center. In 2012, the Independent Media and Diversity Committees in AMIA joined forces to host a workshop at Three Dollar Bill Cinema, a Seattle (WA)-based community organization. In 2013, CAW partnered with the Valentine (Richmond) and the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Libraries. In 2014 CAW partnered with the Georgia Historical Society and A.W.O.L. (All Walks of Life), a Savannah-based youth media organization.  Versions of the workshop also have been held in Oaxaca City, Mexico (2014), Nashville, TN, Portland, OR, Pittsburgh, PA and New Orleans, LA.

About the James Solomon Russell/Saint Paul’s College (JSR/SPC) Museum and Archives: 

The mission of the James Solomon Russell/Saint Paul’s College Museum and Archives is to collect, organize, preserve and promote access to its collections so that alumni and community members can educate Brunswick County residents and visitors about the significant role and lasting legacy of this HBCU in Virginia and African American culture and history.

About the SI-NMAAHC Smith Center:

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (SI-NMAAHC) Robert Frederick Smith (RFS) Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History uses innovative technology to preserve African American history through three related initiatives: the Explore Your Family History Center (FHC), the Community Curation Program (CCP) and the Internships and Fellowships Program (IFP). Through each component, the Museum seeks to expand access to African American history and cultivate broad interest in America’s Black past, genealogy, and culture. Our outreach to African American communities gives voice to the experiences and perspectives of groups that have been underrepresented in history museums, not only in terms of documenting and narrating the stories of institutions, communities and individuals of people of African descent, but also as professionals working in museum spaces, so that descendant communities can better engage with their own histories. Our team works with communities to create digital spaces and resources that tell the stories of historically Black neighborhoods and institutional anchors such as churches, Black-owned businesses and schools, including HBCUs, to facilitate inspiring, social justice-centered educational experiences for museum audiences.