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American Archives Month 2014

October is American Archives Month, a time to focus on the importance of the Smithsonian’s vast collections of archival and historical records and to highlight the many individual Smithsonian archival units responsible for maintaining over 137,000 cubic feet of rich primary resources.

The Smithsonian Institution Archives and Special Collections Council has designated a theme of Discover & Connect for their online events. Archivists, curators, and conservators will share the items they've come across in Smithsonian archival collections that tell an interesting story. They will also share stories of how they came to work in an archive and the stories they uncover in the important work that they do.

Many of the events and content for this year’s Archives Month are hosted on social media venues – Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, and Smithsonian blogs. Links are found in the Calendar of Events below.  Be sure to check frequently for new and changing content.  Share what's happening on Twitter with #archivesmonth.

October 23: Exhibition Tour of Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria!

Join Dr. Amy J. Staples, Curator of the exhibition and Senior Archivist for a tour of the exhibition which features a unique collection of archival photographs documenting the traditional arts and culture of the Benin kingdom. On view through September 13, 2015 at the National Museum of African Art. 2pm-3pm.

October 27: Online Q & A: Ask-the-Smithsonian

A perennial favorite, archivists specialzing in audio/visual material, photographs, and manuscript collections will gather on the Smithsonian's Facebook page to field questions from the public about taking care of their own archival items. 10am-5pm.

Month-long Events


Each October blogs across the Smithsonian give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon. The Smithsonian Collections Blog will feature frequently rotating blogs throughout the month. Other blogs to follow this month include The Bigger Picture, Archives of American Art Blog, AirSpace, Field Book Project, and Eye Level.

Streaming Sound, Video, and Film Festival

Archivists across the Smithsonian will share sound, video, and film from their collections via the Smithsonian AV Archivists Tumblr.

SI Transcription Center

Digital volunteers can explore current archival transcription projects at the SI Transcription Center. A sampling of current archives projects include the Elizabeth Robinson Farm Diary Volume 1, 1951-1953 from the National Museum of American History’s Archives Center;  the English-Alabama and Alabama-English Native American dictionary 1906-1913 from the National Anthropological Archives; Smithsonian’s first secretary Joseph Henry’s Record of Experiments from the Smithsonian Institution Archives; and artist Reginald Marsh's diary from the Archives of American Art.

Archives Month Pinterest Board

Digitized items connecting users to Smithsonian archival collections will be featured on the "October is Archives Month" pinterest board.

A Day in the Life: Artists' Diaries from the Archives of American Art

A selection of artists' diaries from the Archives of American Art is on exhibit in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery in Washington, D.C. 11:30am-7pm daily.

The Traveler's Eye: Scenes of Asia

Learn more about the upcoming exhibition: The Traveler's Eye: Scenes of Asia which will feature documents from the Freer Sackler archive. November 22, 2014–May 31, 2015 at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.