Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Reception Pub Quiz

Archivists across the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions are finalizing the details of their plans for our joint meeting in Boston this week and revving up for what will be the biggest and most collaborative regional meeting many of us have ever seen. Some of us will recognize each other from SAA or other national organizations, but for a lot of us this will be a first opportunity to make connections outside of our respective regions. While the meat of the meeting--the phenomenal sessions that are in store*--will provide a fantastic opportunity to get to know each other, what else can we do to make sure we make cross-regional connections?

“Scholar Quiz,” Image from Flickr Commons user “sea turtle,” https://flic.kr/p/5R86X3

My suggestion? Attend the reception on Friday, March 20, in the Georgian/Arlington room from 5:00-8:00 pm. This will be an excellent opportunity for all archivists in attendance to catch up, discuss Friday’s sessions and plenary talk, and/or get to know each other over drinks and snacks.

Starting at 5:45, NEA and MARAC attendees will have the chance to team up and take each other on in a friendly Pub Quiz, emceed by your friendly Program Committee members Frances Harrell and myself. The questions will cover a wide range of archives- and revolution-themed topics, and teams will have opportunities to wager and earn extra points throughout the competition. Teams will consist of up to 4 players, and we will award bonus points to all teams that have two NEA and two MARAC participants. Teams finishing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place will head home with prizes generously donated by MARAC/NEA Spring 2015 vendors.** There will be Pub Quiz sign-up sheets at the registration table and at the reception, so sign up early and ready your brains for some fun trivia!

Looking forward to seeing you all in Boston later in the week!
*Plan ahead and prioritize your sessions! Schedule available on NEA and MARAC websites.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Plenary Speaker - Sands Fish

By Camilla Torres Hoven
I first met Sands Fish at an MIT New Employee meetup three years ago. It was at the Muddy (an MIT graduate bar) and I remember being nervous going to such an event, being new to campus and the MIT world. I was met by a big smile and a general enthusiasm for the work archivists do that both surprised me and put me at ease. Here was someone who knew what an archivist was (no elevator speech—yes!) and was actually engaged in the work we do.
Sands’s enthusiasm for archival work remains apparent in his work with some of the most forward-thinking groups in research and media. He is a senior member of the Media Cloud research team, and although not an “archivist” his work and research centers around a large archive of online media. As a fellow at the Berkman Center and a Research Affiliate at MIT's Center for Civic Media, Sands focuses on “data visualization, semantic web technologies, linked open data, information architecture, and their application to education and civic media.” As technology has revolutionized the way we create, share, and receive information, Sands is trying to bring some of that revolution to how we collect and manage these new torrents of information.
Sands’s Saturday plenary talk will discuss the work he does at the Berkman Center, explore the traditional concept of the archive and what it would look like in a networked world, and examine the definition of the archive outside of the profession and what that means to the archival profession itself. Let’s all meet him with a big smile, welcome him to the archival world, and engage with him in the work that he does!

MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Lunchtime Discussion: Crafting a Session Proposal

Creating a program for a conference is one of the best jobs. At least I think so. This is my 4th MARAC program committee and the 2nd I’ve lead as co-chair and each one has been different. For years MARAC PC members were the program drivers: we came up with session ideas, and identified and invited speakers. We’re moving away from that model. We are asking for session proposals and these proposals now drive the program; however, as Geof Huth, PC co-chair for Rochester, said while we were planning the program for that meeting, MARAC members have yet to take ownership of their conference.
MARAC’s Meetings Coordinating Committee appointed an ad hoc committee to study conference participation and programing development. From the ad hoc committee, and recently adopted by Steering, comes the requirement at that all future PCs will put out a call for proposals. This is great – although most past PCs have been doing this. NEA also puts out a call and then the committee fills the gaps. For Boston we put out a call, had a nifty Google form for submissions (thanks to Susan Kline, PC co-chair for Rochester!), and, created a listserv so that NEA & MARAC would have a forum to discuss ideas. Some of the submissions were fully formed -- interesting topic, speakers identified -- but some, well most, needed work.
So, how to craft a session proposal? I'm not sure I have answers, but if you're interested in presenting at a future conference, join us on Saturday for the Lunchtime Discussion on Crafting a Session Proposal. We'll have an informal discussion and on hand will be past, present, and future NEA & MARAC Program Committee chairs.
“Officials Discuss,” Photo by Einar G. Chindmark, May 13, 1955. Hartford Times Collection, Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library

Monday, March 9, 2015

MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Museums in Boston - MFA, ICA, Harvard Art Museums

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is all classic architecture. The MFA originally opened its doors in 1876 in Copley Square. Thirty three years later, the museum moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue. In 2010, the museum completed a new wing to house its American Art collections.

The museum is host to many different exhibits, contemporary and historical. Some current highlights include the visiting masterpiece, Gustav Klimt's Adam and Eve; Nature Sculpture, Abstraction, and Clay: 100 Years of American Ceramics; and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

The museum also has a great collection of Asian Art, currently featuring an exhibit entitled Court Ladies or Pin Up Girls? Chinese Paintings from the MFA Boston. This exhibit includes paintings, prints, posters and photographs, dating from the 11th through to the 20th century.

In recent weeks, a collection of Nazi-looted art, which was originally owned by the Rothschild family, and was recovered by the heirs, has been generously gifted to the museum. The collection consists of 186 items, and ranges from paintings to furniture to decorative arts, and jewelry.

The MFA Curators address the issues of Provenance and ownership history of the items.

More information on these exhibits, plus other currently on display, can all be found athttp://www.mfa.org/exhibitions.

ICA, Photo by Tor Lillqvist, Flickr Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/6D5HvV

If the MFA is classic-styled art, the ICA is modern. The Institute of Contemporary Art is located near the Seaport District of Boston, and is easily accessible by the silver line. Their current special exhibit is When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South. The Boston Globe calls this exhibit “provocative, a volatile mash-up, alive to recent art history and laced with surprising connections.” For more information, please see http://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions/exhibit/when-the-stars-begin-to-fall.

The Harvard Art Museums, just across the river in Cambridge MA, have only recently re-opened under a mass renovation project. Now under one roof, these museums display a wide variety of art from European to Asian to American. A few of the 'special' collections include, Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes; Gordon Wahd Gahan photograph collection; and Prints and Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.

You can find more information at http://www.harvardartmuseums.org.