This morning, the first of several planned town hall meetings for the "Envisioning Oregon" project took place at the Oregon Historical Society. A group of over twenty representatives from cultural heritage institutions in and around Portland gathered to begin discussions on the project's stated goal of identifying, collecting, and making accessible Oregon's documentary heritage by means of active collaboration and cooperation between repositories.
Being a relatively small repository, we wholeheartedly embrace the premise that a single institution cannot effectively or efficiently collect in all areas; that cooperation between institutions benefits both donors and repositories; and that collaborative collection development is required if we hope to preserve the full range of cultural materials that are necessary to any study of a given society. This morning's discussions made it clear that we are not alone in thinking this way, and we're looking forward to working with others and hearing more from the project's leaders as discussions continue across the state.
One notable feature of this morning's meeting was the presence at the table of a number of small repositories (besides ourselves!), such as the archives of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the Oregon Jewish Museum, the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, and Philip Foster Farm, among others. Even with this representation, we could all think of at least one other small repository or collection that was not yet represented. So, a call to all readers: if you work at or volunteer at a small repository, or belong to an organization or institution that has a collection of archival or museum materials, and you're interested in being part of this dialog, please contact the project lead, James Fox, for more information and/or a copy of the survey. You have nothing to lose but your anonymity! :-)