May Day! Saving Our Archives

MayDay_Archives_16On May 1st each year the archives community pledges to do an activity aimed at preparing for emergency situations.  In the past few decades, natural and man-made disasters have become increasingly common features in the news.  These disasters threaten lives, and with damage to property, potentially threaten our historical collections.

This year May 1st lands on a Sunday when our library is closed.  However, we still wanted to participate in this important day, even if it had to be planned a bit early.  So we observed May Day in April this year and planned an activity with the students in the Archival Preservation course here at Wright State.  What better way to participate in the May Day cause than to engage future archivists and museum curators in a staged surprise disaster in the archives?  Not only was it a great refresher for me as an archivist, but it hopefully gave students a memorable hands-on experience to take with them.

Once the disaster was found during a site walk-through exercise, the students organized themselves into roles for clearing space 20160411_191004for air drying, gathering supplies, hanging clothes line to clip photos and stronger leaflets, grabbing fans to increase air circulation, and removing items from the water logged area.  My role was to document it all with the camera and to record information on current conditions, cause of the disaster, and our response.  With the number of students and the amount of water damaged materials, they were able to air dry all of the items successfully.  They did a great job, and the following week we evaluated the condition of the dried photographs, newspapers, books, discs, and negatives to see how they  fared.  All survived, if not a bit crinkled, but could easily be used again.  I have to admit, our disaster was not like most disasters…the water was clean!

We have all heard the old saying that disasters are not a matter of if, but when.  As we know, disasters can easily happen at home, too.  On Sunday, I’ll be checking the bedroom closet where I keep my family’s archival treasures to make sure there are no signs of impending doom.  I keep the doors open to circulate the air and the lights off.  I will also be spending some time on Sunday getting my digital files off from my phone and camera, and backing the images up in four places (two off-site and two more at home).  I hope you will join me in doing something on Sunday to protect your own archives!  After that, I will be making up some May Day baskets with my boys and surprising some neighbors with another May Day tradition. Happy May Day everyone!


Posted in Preservation, SC&A | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Water Shutdown on May 2

Please note that due to unavoidable circumstances, Dunbar Library will have no water on Monday, May 2, from 7 a.m. until approximately noon. This includes restrooms. Please make your research plans with this in mind. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.

For more information, see the official announcement below sent yesterday via University communications:

Water supply to Dunbar Library, the Library Annex and Rike Hall will be shut off for emergency plumbing repairs on Monday, May 2, from 7 a.m. until approximately noon.

Once the water supply has been restored, a boil advisory will be in effect until water sample test results are received from the laboratory. It is anticipated that the boil advisory will be removed no later than Thursday, May 5.

A boil advisory means that the water should not be used for human consumption such as drinking, teeth brushing, etc., unless it is boiled first.

Please contact John Kucinski at 775-5404 with any questions.

Posted in SC&A | Tagged | Leave a comment

Join us for “Beyond the Powder: The First Women’s Cross Country Air Race” on May 2nd

All are welcome at the next meeting of the Huffman Prairie Aviation History Society, this coming Monday, May 2, 2016, at 7:00 p.m.

HPAHS_2016-05-02_imageAt this month’s meeting, we will be watching Beyond the Powder: The First Women’s Cross Country Air Race (Hemlock Films).

Beyond the Powder: The Legacy of the First Women’s Cross-Country Air Race is a documentary film that follows the 2014 Air Race Classic racers as they make their way across the country, while telling the story of the original race of 1929, also known as the Powder Puff Derby.

The first Women’s Air Derby in 1929 was flown from Santa Monica to the finish line in Cleveland, kicking off the National Air Races. The eyes of the country watched as these brave women made history flying cross-country, breaking into a competition that was thought to be for men only. They encountered sabotage, death, and all the difficulties of flying at the dawn of aviation.

Today the Powder Puff Derby continues as the Air Race Classic. The modern day racers carry out the legacy of the original racers with their adventurous and rebellious spirit.  Showing that they were more than just their make-up, the original Derby contestants have inspired those flying today to truly push beyond the powder.

This event is free and open to the public. The meeting and presentation will take place at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center at 2380 Memorial Road (intersection of State Route 444 and Kauffman Road), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There is ample free parking, and light refreshments will be provided.

You can view the upcoming schedule of meetings and speakers anytime at :

Posted in Outreach, SC&A | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment