Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top Ten Cultural Heritage Stories of 2014

Welcome to the 5th annual ArchivesInfo Top Ten Stories of the Year. Our list includes the stories that have impacted the cultural heritage professions -- more specifically archives, libraries, and museums - the most over the past year. These stories were greatly discussed, contributed to a change in our profession, and / or are on our radar as potential changers of the heritage we keep. They were garnered from the ArchivesInfo Twitter archives. I have evaluated my tweets based on my own personal outlook and welcome differing opinions. The list is admittedly biased toward the United States with some major exceptions, including our number one spot, which differs from last year's number one. This year's list continues to note major evolutions in the field and trends. 

There were many stories that were again significant and noteworthy that just missed the top ten:
  • In 2014 we learned that museums are good for us: 
How #Museums Affect the Brain via @hyperallergic. (But we already new that didn’t we?) Museums and libraries continue to evolve and grow to find new purpose and meaning in a 21st century society. Look for more on this topic in coming years.

  • We were again reminded about the importance of archives for human rights in many stories such as: 
Native abuse inquiry deadline looms as documents mount … #humanrights #Canada #archives

  • Andy Warhol is always in the news, even so many years after his death because of the boxes he left behind for us and his general impact on the art scene. This one particular story stood out for me because it ties art to digital archives and the ‘80s. (Hint, hint: The 80s makes an appearance in our top ten.)
It Took Three Years to Restore 23 Pieces of #Art Andy Warhol Made on a Computer in the 1980  via @SmithsonianMag

  • Presidential records were hot again. Nixon is still in the news, but now we have moved forward a couple of decades to the Clinton era too: 
Newly Released Clinton-Era Papers Show Damage Control During Scandal  #archives

  • Old wounds are trying to heal:
 Rwanda: Senate Okays Bill Setting Up Archives, Library Body #rwanda via @allafrica #archives #library
Overcoming Looting and Years of War, Iraq Museum Moves to Reopen …

  • …And new catastrophes loom large:  
Concern growing over #Syria heritage sites  #archives

Two big stories just missed the top ten, though they appeared in previous years. Their stories continue to grow and evolve and will continue to do so, with fewer stories highlighting newsworthiness.
A. DPLA continues to grow. It will be with us for a long time, influencing other digitization projects and creating a dream “library” for our descendants:
How to Save the Humanities With Just a Few Clicks … #crowdsourcing #DPLA #searchterms
Digital Public Library of America Marks a Year of Rapid Growth 
Digital Public Library of America triples its free collections and more in year one 
B. The Boston College Oral History Project has been big news for several years now. We now reflect on our mistakes and the impact that archives projects can have on lives today.
BC reflects on missteps in Northern Ireland project: Oral history project is over, but scars remain  #archives
How ‘Belfast Project’ led to arrest of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams  #archives #BC
How tapes made by U.S. library could solve N. #Ireland murder … #BC #archives

As we look at the Top Ten, it seems focused on a new generation. We have milestones and shifts that will affect the ways we study and what we know about history. Those of us in mid-life will recognize that some of the stories of our own lives are now recognized as “history.” We have amazing finds that open our minds to new ideas, celebrations and promises for the future. 2014 seemed to be a door opening year. As always, I encourage your comments and critique. What stories did I leave out? Would you put the top ten in a different order? Without further ado…

10. Magna Carta’s 800th birthday
How often do we get to celebrate an 800th birthday?

Durham's Magna Carta part of 800th birthday party
BBC News - Keeping Magna Carta safe in the United States … #archives
BBC News - British Library to show Declaration of Independence … #magnacarta #archives #library
Magna Carta 800th Anniversary celebrations for 2015 - Culture24 … #magnacarta
The Man Who Owns A Magna Carta … #Forbes #Rubinstein #archives
Magna Carta returning to U.S. in run-up to its 800th anniversary
World Digital Library Reaches Milestone - EIN News  #archives #LOC

9. Save Britain and Canada’s National library and archives. Save Detroit and more.
While overall I see a positive upturn for cultural heritage institutions in the news, many of us are still struggling. The worldwide recession took a big toll against which we are still navigating. Many cultural heritage institutions are in a fight for their lives and must continually define and promote themselves to society at large and to their governments. Canada stands out for a large upheaval and struggle, but other stories fit neatly alongside. This is Canada’s second year in a row in our top ten as the world watches its changes.

Report cites Library and Archives woes, urban-rural library divide #savelibraries #canada
Canada's #Library and #Archives and Public Memory - report  #Canada
Kent looks to outsource over 90 libraries  #savelibraries #UK
Creditors Would Remove Detroit Institute of Arts’ Collection Piece by Piece  #savemuseums
Merging cultural institutions would be disastrous, say former directors … #savelibraries #Australia
The Corcoran Gallery of Art May Cede Control of Its Collection  #art #culture #museum
New head faces challenges at Library and Archives Canada …
Library and Archives Canada moves to outsource national catalogue … #OCLC #archives #Canada
Canada: Library and Archives bureaucrat muzzled amid Senate scandal: documents
Library cuts trigger fears of knowledge drain via @ottawacitizen #Canada
Library cuts in more than a dozen government departments trigger fears of lost knowledge  #Canada

8. New and Renovated Museums, Libraries, and Archives
Despite the woes, there is a marked trend toward rebuilding, building anew and redefining. Museums stand out in the news as having hit their stride for the 21st century, telling old stories in new ways and finding new stories to tell.  

Work to change historic Nevada prison to #museum is going slow via #museum4everything
The history of Cincinnati's police to be displayed in new #museum |
Prepare Yourself For a Sponge-Like Lucas #Museum #architecture
What to Expect from Smithsonian's $2B Master Plan #museum
Stockbridge #Library, #Museum & #Archives renovation officially underway  #MA
"New museum in Prague brings relief for toilet fans" … #museum #museumforeverything
Plans unfold for huge art museum in downtown St. Petersburg … #savemuseums [things are looking up!]
An Ingenious Museum Design That Turns Visitors Into Creators | Design | WIRED … @iartlibraries
The Force Be With You: George Lucas Picks Chicago for #Museum  via @NBCNews #scifi
Renderings Revealed for Proposed Frick Collection Expansion  via @CurbedNY
Alaska State Museum starts collections transfer to new vault …
The Near-Impossible Challenge of Designing the 9/11 #Museum 
Museum renovation: Consigli to Renovate Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery  #museum
The museum of how work sounded  recording the “endangered” sounds of the industrial era #archives
UK: Manchester Central #Library re-opens after £50million transformation for all to 'get wisdom' | Mancunian Matters: …
City of Boise Looks to Fund Options for Main #Library Redesign …
Norman Rockwell Museum to expand with art, archives from Famous Artists School  #archives #art

7. Lost Government Emails
Uncertainty and striving for transparency is a sign of our times in the United States. Archives have played a prominent role this year in several stories about government mistrust. Our national Archivist spoke to Congress about missteps of government bodies in relation to archival standards and law. Changes in the way we handle government records are in the works.  

Small Change To National Archivist's Powers May Keep Government Agencies From Destroying Embarrassing Documents
6 questions about the IRS’s missing emails, from IT experts  via @washingtonpost
National #Archives also wants answers for agencies' lost documents - Washington Times: 
GOP Senators probe lost EPA emails … #archives #government
Archivist: IRS did not follow law …
Did the IRS Break the Law by Failing to Safeguard Those 'Lost' Emails? … #recordsmanagement #archives
IRS, Republicans clash over Lois Lerner emails … via @POLITICO [not the way to do records management]
Scope grows of federal records that are missing  #archives #NARA (anyone have more info on this?)
Scope of missing federal military records grows | News Tribune:

6. The Cold War
Society is reviewing the documents of the mid-twentieth century as more and more are made public. The Cold War is now officially "history" as historians analyze newly available materials.

Australian violinist of Bulgarian origin recruited to work as Soviet spy … #Mitrokhin #archives #spies
Soviets spied on their friends in Czechoslovakia … #Mitrokhin #archives
LA City Archive: How LA prepped for nuclear war in the 1950s … #archives #ColdWar
Ukraine: Secret service publishes Stalin files 
Booby-trapped Russian Cold War weapons caches are likely still hidden throughout Britain, historian says  #archives
Soviet Defector's Trove Of KGB Secrets Made Public … #archives
BBC News - How Glasgow was prepared for a Cold War nuclear strike … #archives #coldwar
Saving the history of the Cold War, piece by piece  #archives #museum

5. Copyright and Privacy still in a tangle
Copyright law and privacy expectations must evolve. That is made super clear with this year’s stories. Last year, I said that copyright as a news item was waiting to ripen. I think that happened in 2014. We find ourselves in a bit of a mess when we are wondering things such as “If a Monkey Take a Photo, Who Owns the Copyright?” We need to look with fresh eyes at this thing we created and come up with something new. Countries struggle to reach agreements over what copyright means to the world in a worldwide economy. We struggle with who would and should benefit and lose out from our own rules. We need to more closely examine how we spread and share information, how privacy can exist more comfortably in our times, and who owns our information when our information is everywhere and so easily accessible.

Blame copyright for WWI letters missing from UK museums this weekend
Copyright in Flux, Pictures on the Go. role of #copyright in 21st century cultural institutions. … #museum #archives
If A Monkey Takes A Photo, Who Owns The Copyright? … #selfie #copyright
#Libraries and #Archives Leave International Copyright Discussions After Countries Again Fail to Reach Agreement 
Librarians Concerned Digital Content Licences Overriding Exceptions, Limitations  #archives #copyright
Sherlock Holmes lives in public domain, US court rules in case of the heckled brand  via @guardian
Los Angeles Times: Europe’s highest court strikes a blow not for privacy but for censoring history - …
Should Irish college have kept Jackie Kennedy’s letters private? … #archives #Kennedy
Residential school survivors fear testimony could be made public despite guaranteed confidentiality  #native #archives
Photographers react to Getty copyright move | Amateur Photographer  #copyright

4. Time Capsules
We found some amazing time capsules this past year, including one left to us by our forefathers in the United States – the oldest known capsule in my country. Admittedly, I have time capsules on the brain as my students build one for the 50th anniversary of our school, but I think this idea of looking back and toward the future is significant for 2015.

Oldest Time Capsule in US Unearthed at Massachusetts State House - ABC News
New time capsule to be installed in Old State House lion statue
Drumroll, Please: What's Inside the Old State House Time Capsule: …
113-Year-Old Time Capsule Opened, Keeps Slipping Into The Future … #timecapsule
ArtSlant - Forgotten time capsule found in Boston lion sculpture … via @artslant
Time Capsule Found in Statue From the Old State House to Be Opened on October 9: … #timecapsules in the news!
Sand, deteriorated paper found inside 137-year-old time capsule in Truro [many time capsules unearthed recent weeks!]
Buried treasure? Flint City Hall time capsule has been sealed since 1958 #timecapsule
Time capsule unveiled by MTA in Brooklyn | Brooklyn Daily Eagle …
Time capsule treasures on display now at Western High School … #timecapsule

3. Amazing Finds
2014 was a year of amazing finds. Beyond time capsules, we unearthed some very significant cultural artifacts. We find new things in our archives and archaeological digs every year, but it is not every year that we find a full text written by one of our best-loved authors or old film footage of a legendary event. I wonder if the times are re-awakening a curiosity about the past, if digitization projects have us combing our collections in new ways, or if we are just getting lucky to find these amazing things. Whatever the reason, this past year was a great year for new, old materials in our collections.

Shakespeare Folio Found In Small-Town French Library
Disney’s first Christmas film found in Arctic archive - The Art Newspaper #MOMA #Oswald
100 Years Later, a New Black #Film Emerges #archives
Ninety-Year-Old World Series Footage Restored Against All Odds … via @mashable #baseball #archives #sports #film
Charles Darwin's barnacles found in Danish museum … #archives #museum #hiddencollections
450 year-old music fragment gets belated encore … #archives #music #Reformation
New Documents about Miguel de Cervantes Discovered in Spain … #archives
The amazing story of a 4,000-year-old necklace found in a dumpster  #hiddencollectionsrock
Treasure trove of #art found after 100 years in John Rylands Library basement  #archives #Durer
Origins Of Mysterious World Trade Center Ship Determined  [now, presumably, they move 2 PA #archives 4 some research!]
Cautious Anticipation Over Potential Santa Maria Discovery … #historicalrecord
Cod bones reveal 13th century origin of London international fish trade … [<3 articles="" cross="" disciplines="" span="" that="">
Newly-unveiled footage from 1937 shows FDR walking … #FDR #history
American Revolution manuscripts found in LSU collections … #archives
Amazing Footage Surfaces of Infamous 1919 'Black Sox' World Series … #archives #baseball #sports
Lost British silent masterpiece rediscovered in Holland - : … #film #archives
The #diary of another young girl: #Holocaust journal comes to light in San Francisco … #archivist
Lawrence of Arabia’s saddle bag possibly ‘found’ in Bank of England vault  #museum

2. Digitization
We have done outstanding work to get our collections online and noticed in the past few years. 2014 felt like the year when we had a much clearer vision of how this will all work. New collections and cultural heritage resources sprang up all over the Internet last year. Tools are easier to use. Directions are clear. Society, beyond the serious researcher, is starting to seek the tools that cultural heritage professionals make for online use. We’ve developed visible partnerships with major online players to make our collections and our work more visible. We are becoming clever at making our collections interactive. I see movement toward our “good information” challenging the “bad information” for the public’s attention in a digital world. Our best ideas are coming together online. We are putting our materials side by side in ways that we can’t in a physical setting, allowing society to better evaluate the usefulness of cultural heritage institutions, information in general, and their own place in the world.

Five More Digital #Archives and Historical Exhibits We Loved in 2014 via @slate #history
Museum digitizing records of WWI Harlem Hellfighters #AfricanAmerica #WWI #military
155 Years Later, Darwin's Manuscripts Are Going Digital via @PopSci #archives
#Google aids in bringing UAE history online #archives
The Internet Archive launches its arcade: Classic games in a browser:
Thousands of Historic Archives from British Asylums to Go Online  #archives #mentalhealth #Wellcomelibrary
Vatican manuscripts available online … #archives
Split Up by Holocaust, Top Collection of Yiddish Works Will Reunite Digitally
Getty Posts Knoedler Archives Online - ArtfixDaily News Feed via @ARTFIXdaily
DHS, FBI stepping up digitization of records … via @FederalTimes #archives #government
BBC News - Millions of historic images posted to Flickr … #archives #photo #copyrightfree
Experts Launch Project to Digitize Neglected Bosnian Heritage … #preservation #archives #humanrights #Bosnia
How To Scan 50 Miles of Historical Documents Into an Online Archive … #Venice #archives
Canadiana: Putting Canadian history online  #archives #digitization
Nebraska homestead files have been digitized … #archives #digitization
1,000-year-old Exeter manuscript to go digital | Exeter Express and Echo  [what a super-cool document!] #archives
U.S. National Archives to Upload its Collection to #Wikipedia - Techlicious … #NARA #archives
The Library of Congress Uploads Earliest Film Footage to YouTube, And It's Amazing … #film #LOC #archives
USC Digital Repository shapes the future of archiving … #digitization #archives
More than 400,000 pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art are available for download online  #OASC #art #digital
Texas history projects working to archive, digitize old home movies  #archives
Astounding #photos from the Museum of Natural History’s newly digitized archives  #archives #digitization
Museum of Natural History digitizes massive photo archive, makes it available to public: … #museum #science #archives
National Library expands online archive with 10,000 images … via @IrishTimes #archives
New Hampshire to digitize historic records, photos | Concord Monitor … #archives #NH
Labour of love to share Bard’s book with world - Yorkshire Evening Post: …
Partnership digitises old medical books - Research Information … via @researchinfo
Digital Repository of Ireland brings history to life online  #Ireland #archivist
NEDCC helps the New Hampshire Historical Society digitize Civil War daguerreotypes. Nice collection!#preservation 
Boy Scouts digitized by BYU Library  #archives
Alan Lomax Archives available online  #archives #digital
Canada's Online #Archives Expand with Digitization Project, NFB Content Deal
Canadian Nature Museum digitizing 3 million specimens: #Museum part of  international movement 2 put #archives online

1. World War I Anniversary -
Much as the U.S. Civil War sesquicentennial made our list in 2010, World War I commemoration has our attention this year. Unlike the Civil War, the start of “the war to end all wars” impacted us globally and is reflected in collections in every country of the world. World War I takes the top spot because it has shown up everywhere:  in digitization projects, new finds, time capsules and more. As society struggles with a new identity in a new age, our historic milestones allow us great opportunities for reflection on who we are, how much we’ve changed and how we remain the same.

First World War sketches a mystery #diary
War distilled in soldier's letters #archives #WWI #NZ
UV is looking to ID soldier behind WWI sketchbooks … #orphansketchbook #WWI #archives
Draycott diaries are brought to life  #WWI #anniversary #archives
Mystery of Gore Park time capsule is revealed … #Canada #WWI #timecapsule
Red Cross #WWI prisoner files offer online trove  #archives
First World War dead commemorated in new online archive blog #WWI #archives
Portree archive centre to research impact of World War I … #WWI #localhistory #archives
First World War researcher tracks Sudbury soldiers' records  #Canada #WWI
Archives NZ opens the files on World War 1 … #WWI
BBC News - World War One autograph book donated to Cambridge hospital … #archives #WWI
World War One: Historical records reveal terrible toll of the war to end all wars... | Nottingham Post  #archives
To honour the memory of #WW1, we're highlighting some unique photographs: …
Kaiser Wilhem's early drawings shed new light on childhood | via @Telegraph 
War memorial records digitised for centenary - Londonderry Sentinel: … #WWI #archives
Woman's 20-year quest to document tales from the First World War  #archives #WWI
Poignant Great War image is relived by a modern generation Poignant Great War image is relived by a modern generation #WWI #centennial
Celebrating Anniversaries. Commemorating War. new ArchivesInfo blog post … #anniversaries #history #archives #WWI
Royals to mark war centenary events … #anniversary #WWI
National Archives to digitize World War I diaries to reveal life in the trenches.  #history #WWICentenary
Follow #WWIcentenary for interesting information about upcoming events to commemorate the war and its historical resources. #archives
BBC News - War poets' comrade rare #photos found … #WWIcentenary
Postcards from the frontline … #WWI #correspondence #ephemera
Artwork from the Front Line - Artist inspired by #WWI #diary  #archives @IArtLibraries
Manitoba: Letters from the war front  #wwI #archives
National Archives U.K. marks the centenary of World War I … #WWI #archives
A publisher before wartime. Oxford Un. Press and #WWI Centenary 
WWI capsule offers a mystery - do you know what's in it?  #timecapsule #history #WWI
Nearly 4,000 first world war diaries made available online  via @guardian #archives #worldwarI
World War I Family Stories Uncovered  #archives #genealogy
Records of  49,000 Irish WWI dead in new digital archive  via @IrishTimes #Ireland #genealogy

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