by: Marilyn Morgan
With some heaviness in my heart, I recently announced my decision to leave my post as director of the Archives Program to apply my skills and passion for educational technology as an Instructional Designer at the Harvard Business School.
When I stepped into my role as the director of the Archives Program in September 2014, I felt honored to assume leadership of a program that provides affordable and high-quality graduate education in archival studies.
With support from my extraordinary colleagues of the University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) and the help of skilled and selfless archivists, including Marta Crilly, Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, Alfie Paul, Jenny Gotwals, and Juliana Kuipers, the program has transformed. Together, we shaped a program that prepares students by blending archival theory with practical hands-on education.
Thanks to the ongoing support of Joanne Riley, Interim Dean of University Libraries at UMass Boston, and UASC processing archivist Meghan Bailey, graduate students in the program gained the unique opportunity to process archival collections, producing online finding aids that enable researchers to use collections. The Archives Program could not have succeeded without this collaborative ongoing arrangement.
Over the past three years, the program forged critical new collaborations with local institutions including Boston City Archives; the Massachusetts Historical Society, the National Park Service, Boston; and the National Archives at Boston.
Marta Crilly, Archivist for Reference and Outreach at Boston City Archives, shared her expertise with students in all archives courses. Our ongoing collaboration enabled students in the course, “Transforming Archives & History in a Digital Age,” to gain invaluable experience digitizing records pertaining to the turmoil surrounding the desegregation of Boston Public Schools in 1974.
That hands-on experience gave our students the chance to participate in digital projects, create metatdata, and design robust, engaging online exhibits that received local and national recognition. The digital exhibits students created in Omeka provided public access to many historical documents that were previously inaccessible.
In 2016, the Center for History and New Media recognized the online exhibits designed by graduate students in the Archives Program and the course site remains as a featured site in Omeka’s showcase. I could not be more proud of our students and recent graduates!
During the search for the next Archives Program director, it’s my pleasure to report that two seasoned and passionate leaders in the profession will begin teaching archives courses in the spring semester. Alfie Paul, Director of Archival Operations at the National Archives at Boston will teach “Archival Methods and Processing” while Veronica Martzahl, Digital Records Archivist at the Massachusetts Archives, will begin teaching “Transforming Archives & History in a Digital Age.”
Through determination and commitment to quality education, the program has grown more robust over the past three years. We have advanced a culture of practical education and performance that distinguishes our students. Graduates of the program promise to become future leaders in the profession.
For these reasons and more, I will truly miss having the honor of educating the graduate students of the Archives Program at UMass Boston. I have learned as much as I have taught. I look forward to hearing of our students’ future successes and achievements.