Smithsonian to Celebrate American Archives Month

September 30, 2011
News Release
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Temporary display of items from the collections, NASM Archives Oct. 2008

This October, the Smithsonian archives are celebrating American Archives Month with an Archives Fair, Friday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the concourse of the S. Dillion Ripley Center. The fair will feature informational displays, the opportunity to speak with staff from more than a dozen Smithsonian archives and a lecture series about projects and research based on Smithsonian collections.

The fair also will feature the popular “Ask the Smithsonian” program. Participants can sign up for consultations with Smithsonian experts and receive preservation tips and other advice on how to care for items they have tucked away in the attics, closets and basements of their homes. Smithsonian staff will evaluate one easily transported archival items (or two related items) no larger than a shopping bag. Archival materials include letters, diaries, maps, scrapbooks, photographs, films, recordings and computer disks—anything that contains information of enduring value. Objects such as paintings, dolls, clothing or other textiles, mechanical objects and toys will not be reviewed. The reviews are informational only; monetary appraisals will not be given and donations will not be accepted during the fair. Smithsonian experts on site will include archivists, librarians, museum specialists and conservators.

Preregistration is required for the “Ask the Smithsonian” program and appointments can be made online at For those not able to attend the Archives Fair, Smithsonian conservation and archives specialists will be available virtually on the Smithsonian’s Facebook page ( Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer questions the public may have about their own paper and electronic archival items.

Throughout October, blogs across the Smithsonian will participate in a “blog-a-thon” with daily posts highlighting stories from the archives, as well as challenges and issues facing them. A list of participating blogs is available at

For additional details on the Smithsonian Archives Fair and “October is American Archives Month,” as well as information on the archives at the Smithsonian, visit