Shadowing an Archivist

October 8, 2014 · Collections ·

On Monday, October 6, CHS hosted home-schooled children and their parents for a day of workshops. I offered a session called “Shadow an Archivist” which 10 students attended. First we had to help them define archivist and manuscript, and I told them about my duties and my educational background. Dry stuff, I know. But then the fun started. They were given a ‘collection” to review and process. These were copies of documents in a real collection from the Root family of Farmington, Connecticut.

Students at Home School Day October 6, 2014, act as archivists.

Students at Home School Day October 6, 2014, acting as archivists.

In groups, the students had to read the documents–in cursive!–and determine the content and the type of document they were looking at. There was an assortment of letters, deeds, tax lists, insurance papers and wills and estate distributions. They had so much fun trying to figure out what the collection contained that we never got to the research part where they could learn about the people they had identified. With a lot of encouragement from Emily Dunnack, they finally did come up with a plan for organizing the papers which ranged from detailed to general and certainly not the way I would have done it. But so be it–this was a learning experience.

I had a great time sharing my excitement about manuscripts and seeing some of them catch that. I hope I can do this again and get more students turned on to archives and manuscripts.

The next Home School Day is March 9, 2015. Watch our web site for more information as it becomes available.

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