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Posted Jan 16, 2016

From the Quill of Caitlin Brennecke

My name is Caitlin and I am an archivist at the Troy Historic Village. I work alongside Melissa Luberti and Elizabeth Thornburg in the Collections Department. We are responsible for organizing and preserving the materials and objects found in the village. As an introduction to the collections department and what we do, I’d like to first talk about outreach, as I feel it is the backbone to our department.

Outreach is incredibly important for any archive: it’s how you publicize your institution and collections. It helps teach the public and community about certain topics, while also informing them about your collections and how they can be used. Traditionally, outreach has occurred in the forms of newsletters, simple exhibits, and tours, all of which take place on the grounds of the institution. At the Troy Historic Village, the collections department likes to think of outreach in a more non-traditional way, by extending our reach beyond the Village’s fence, by immersing visitors in our daily activities, and by providing hands-on opportunities.

Outreach is really about engaging the community around us and providing access to information for our patrons including those who haven’t visited us before and creating advocates for our institution. In reality, outreach is a multi-faceted activity for archivists. It includes access, marketing, instruction, and advocacy, which are all integral parts of a successful and functioning archive.

In recent years, we have brought out artifacts to be used in lectures and our Thursday Teas at Two. We have constructed two successful pop-up exhibits at off-site locations in order to reach audiences that may not have the opportunity to come to us. We have increased our social media presence by participating in American Archives Month on Facebook and by answering questions on Twitter for Ask an Archivist Day. We have a History Pin site where you can explore a virtual map to find photographs from our collection. We have also held two behind the scenes tours, with immersive activities based on the tasks that as archivists do on a regular basis. This immersive tour was so unique that we were asked to present on our idea at the Society of American Archivists national meeting in Cleveland this past year.

But we’re not done yet. We all feel passionately about the Village and what we do. We want to keep on sharing it with you. This blog is one way we can ask you, what types of outreach you’d love to see year. If you have an idea for an event, a virtual exhibit, or a tour topic, we’d love to hear it. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at our next event.

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