HC&A was invited to participate in the Center for Women's Health Edit-a-thon by Katharine Hart, which took place in the BICC Gallery on May 12th. I received the request to potentially show off some archival materials related to women's health during this event which was designed to give people with experience in the field of women's health an opportunity to edit Wikipedia's pages related to women's health with the goal of reducing poorly cited and inaccurate information.
In order to give you, dear reader, the best understanding of the professional aspects of these types of events the remainder of this post is a tag-team co-authoring extravaganza with myself, Max Johnson, University Archivist and Meg Langford, HC&A Public Services Coordinator. I'll start the party with a discussion of the key elements most directly linked to my work (advocacy, donor relations, campus support) and then pass the mic to Meg who will discuss outreach, choosing materials and share images of the event.
First off, campus support. This is a critical concept in university archives and special collections, we need to ensure that our repository is not seen only as a place to go, but also as a service that travels. Without even thinking of the materials, their needs and security I almost always say "Yes" and then figure out how to make it work. Our allies, supporters and collaborators on campus are typically very pleased with our efforts and our willingness to support their events by enhancing the visual offerings with historical materials is a natural win-win situation for all involved. It seems pretty basic when I write it, but it is necessary to always be willing to think around the corners, be creative and take extra time to ensure the archival presence supports both missions.
This brings me to the next concept: advocacy. Advocacy means that as an archivist I use my position and our materials to show the value of the profession to campus stakeholders, supporters and potential new supporters with the hopes that for every event we are not at, people wonder "Where are those archival materials I saw at this other event?" or "Wouldn't it be nice to have some historical context?" This leads people to think "Of course we need an archives, where else would we get such great support," or "We should send materials to the archives so they can use them to further support other missions on campus." This advocacy leading to growth brings me to the last point of my spiel: Donor relations.
In showing our collaborators, supporters and friends what we can offer we plant the seed that could lead to a future donation. When visitors see that our materials are mobile (with great caution) and that they include the records of deans, presidents, department heads, researchers, and innovators, that draws them into the world of archival potential. It is my hope that by seeing the manner in which we care for materials, our familiarity with their place in history and our desire to continue to increase our footprint and reach that this prompts potential donors to start the conversation of "What if I were to contact the archivist and offer my papers, records and materials?" And this really is the best of all worlds.
|HC&A Wikipedia edit-a-thon tabling crew: Max Johnson, Crystal Rodgers, Meg Langford [OHSU Photography]|
|Everyone loves some archives swag! Buttons from the Birth Home of Portland [OHSU Photography]|
For this event, we selected materials from the following archival collections:
- Birth Home, Inc. Records [2014-011]
- Raymond Watkins Collection [2002-003]
- Clarice Ashworth Francone Collection [1999-002]
...As well as several obstetrics texts from our rare books collection:
- Obstetric tables: Comprising graphic illustrations, with descriptions and practical remarks : Exhibiting on dissected plates many important subjects in midwifery
- Obstetrical pocket-phantom
|Demonstrating the layered illustrations in the Spratt text [OHSU Photography]|
|Original medical illustrations from the Clarice Ashworth Francone collection [OHSU Photography]|
|Yours truly demonstrates the famous (to us, anyway!) obstetrical pocket phantoms! [OHSU Photography]|
Are you planning an event and interested in how we can work together to connect with OHSU or health science history? Contact us! 503.494.5587 | firstname.lastname@example.org