|A bundle of letters from the Frank Lawton collection.|
Small bundles like this gave me some clues to a rational
organization of the materials.
|One layer of correspondence among the Lawton Papers|
|Unbound letters in need of cleaning|
|One of about sixteen neat boxes. The collection will grow|
as letters are unfolded and interleaved. My time on the project
did not allow for me to do that.
|Work in progress. Things usually get messier before they|
The Society received a grant for the project, which covered about half of the consulting fee I would have required to fully process the collection. So, instead, I gave the disorganized collection some structure, gave a volunteer some instruction on preservation and what is needed to continue the project after I'm gone. I wrote up a small report providing additional information to assist them and will return to the Society in a month to see what progress has been made - where the project is succeeding and where volunteers may need a little extra help.
Over the past ten years, I have always been impressed with what Shirley can accomplish. A few other communities with which I have worked have also managed to accomplish incredible things with grant money, dedicated volunteers who can whip up passion and support for their work, and a little professional guidance. These institutions do not run like "traditional" archives and need the support of flexible and creative archivists to guide them. I invite my fellow archivists who don't do so already to step outside the box and see what they can do to help lift their small local archives. In so doing, I assure you, you will be boosting our profession by expanding our purpose and value. It also feels amazing to "click" with volunteers and watch their eyes light up with the knowledge that they have the capability of building something for posterity.
visit the Shirley Historical Society's web page at www.shirleyhistory.org