Appraising Archives for the History of Science

Brown Bag Lectures
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

Join us for a Brown Bag Lecture by Patrick Shea, Chief Curator of Archives and Manuscripts at the Science History Institute.

This talk will detail my experiences developing the archival collections of the Science History Institute. The sheer volume of records documenting 20th-century science demands that we set clear limits on the type of material we want to collect. Since we can’t collect everything, it is vital that institutions have sound collection and appraisal policies to provide a clear definition of the material desired, as well as a firm footing for declining donations that do not meet our criteria. As such, I’ll discuss the Science History Institute’s policies toward collecting and appraising archival collections, with specific examples of how collections are evaluated before final selection is made.

Patrick Shea

Patrick Shea

Patrick Shea.

About the Speaker

Patrick Shea is the chief curator of archives and manuscripts for the Othmer Library of Chemical History at the Science History Institute. His current responsibilities include archival acquisitions and donor relations, archival processing, reference, and the general administration of the Institute’s archival program.

Patrick has a BA in history from Salisbury University and an MA in the history of technology from the University of Delaware, where he was a fellow in the Hagley Graduate Program. He has been a professional archivist since 1998 and holds the professional designation of Certified Archivist from the ACA. He has worked for a variety of cultural institutions during this time, including the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History, the Rockefeller Archive Center, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Russo Museum for Business History and Technology, and the Science History Institute, which he joined in 2006. 

About the Series

Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of (mostly) weekly, informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of the Institute staff and fellows and interested members of the public.