Friday, June 30, 2017

Student Assistants at NWA/CIMA '17

by Sam White

Grayce Mack, Rachel Fellman, and Sam White in front of their presentation poster
L to R: Grayce, Rachel, and myself at NWA/CIMA '17
Hello, dear readers,

My name is Sam White, and this will be my first, and last, post here on the Historical Collections & Archives blog. Alas, my position as a Student Assistant for the Public Health in Oregon: Discovering Historical Data digitization project is on its last leg. That doesn’t mean that I can’t tell you a little bit about myself and some of the exciting things I’ve been doing here at OHSU though, so here we go!

I am an almost-graduate, set to walk the stage for my Masters of Library Science from Emporia State University on August 13th of this year. Prior to making the decision to return to school, I worked as a Starbucks barista and bemoaned the fact that I’d earned my Bachelor’s in a subject as “useless” as History, when I could have been a Political Science major like my sister (who managed to snag a fantastic job right out of college). When I did finally decide to become an archivist, I packed my things and my boyfriend into a moving truck and drove from Sacramento, CA to Portland, OR, and I haven’t looked back since.

But enough about me, let’s talk about the exciting things I mentioned earlier.

Because of our work on the Public Health project, I and two fellow Student Assistants (Rachel Fellman and Grayce Mack, who you may already know) were actually sponsored by the department to attend the Annual conference for Northwest Archivists and Council of Inter-Mountain Archivists.

our presentation poster from NWA/CIMA 2017

Our poster from NWA/CIMA '17
Held in Boise, ID, from May 17th-19th of this year, this was a relatively informal gathering of like-minded professionals dedicated to lifelong learning, and the three of us were grateful for the opportunity to not only attend, but present a poster as well.

While we were between panels and pop-up sessions, we found time to attend events such as the opening reception, where the terror of networking was softened considerably by the fact that the event was held at Woodland Empire Ale Craft, a taproom, and there was beer aplenty. And also a taproom Ogre, guarded by (or perhaps guarding?) Brienne of Tarth.

We likewise attended the final reception, held at the Union Pacific Mainline Depot, which I unfortunately did not photograph, but suffice to say that you should visit if possible. On the same day, we also made a trip to the Boise Art Museum (fondly known as BAM), where we feasted our eyes on three separate installations and a small sculpture garden, as well as a truly exorbitant gift shop.

Another of the interesting events of this trip was our tour of the local Basque Museum and Cultural Center, which not only took us through the museum as promised, but also included a tour of an actual historic Basque boarding house, as well as a live demonstration of a truly athletic sport called Basque pelota. Again, no pictures, this time because they weren’t allowed, but I highly recommend a visit if you have the time.

Facade of the Boise Public Library
The Boise Public Library!
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of our trip to Boise, however, was found where you would least expect it: at the Boise Public Library! Although I suppose that's not very surprising for a bunch of library students.

No, really. If only every public library building were so excited about being a library.

All in all, our visit to Boise was what I would call fruitful. Grayce, Rachel, and myself became closer (being in one hotel room will do that, I suppose), we attended and presented at our very first conference, we schmoozed with archivists of the Pacific North West like the desperate graduate students we are, we spotted a library with an exclamation point, and finally ...

We marveled at the beauty of Boise street art.

Two transformers with cartoon figures painted on, in Boise ID
Two transformers with cartoon figures painted on, in Boise ID
Body builder painted on the side of a building, with "I love you" below
The bodybuilders of Boise love you.
There was, for example, an Arnold-like bodybuilder painted on the patio of a local taproom, who wanted only to tell you, and everyone else in Boise, that he loves you.

There were also two transformers with figures painted on, which would have not been amiss on the set of a Gorillaz music video.

Transformer street art in Boise, ID
Tonto contemplates life, and his new car.
And finally, we have this ingenious man, who fits with one of two possibilities. One, he is Tonto to the masked man's Lone Ranger, or two, he's trapped a bandit (or the sheriff in these here parts?), and is now contemplating his freedom and the beauty of his time travelling wheels.

There were plenty more transformers, and a surprising amount a street art, but I think that maybe I've posted too many already, so I'll end with this:

So long, HC&A, and thanks for all the fish.

Just kidding, that's plagiarism.

Really, I have been so grateful to work in a department that values the professional growth of its student workers, and I cannot recommend this position enough, particularly for library students looking to get into the archival profession. Thanks for having me, and I'll be following you from the other side ... of the blogger-sphere.

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