Chemical Heritage Foundation Celebrates Archives Month

Throughout the month of October our librarians and archivists are making a special effort to introduce the archives to fresh faces.

With the tagline “archives are for everyone,” American Archives Month, celebrated every October, is an opportunity for archives and archivists around the country to raise public awareness about the value and accessibility of historical records. Our local edition, Archives Month Philly, includes more than 20 events at Philadelphia’s most notable archives, special-collections libraries, repositories, and other cultural institutions.

A volunteer-led effort, the program pulls from a community of passionate advocates, including some of the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s own staff: Hillary Kativa, our curator of photographic and moving image collections, sits on the board; Sarah Newhouse, digital collections archivist, volunteers on the communications team; and research fellow Elisabeth Berry Drago designed the group’s logo.

Throughout the month more than 800 guests are expected to participate in culinary workshops, view vintage slideshows, and ask questions about archivists’ work—starting with the basics. Kativa recalls a behind-the-scenes tour at the Hagley Museum and Library, which sits on the historic DuPont powder yards in Wilmington, Delaware. “A retired teacher was standing in the middle of a storage area with so many shelves, as far as the eye can see, and wondered aloud, ‘How do you find everything?’” Kativa laughs. “It was a great opportunity to talk about how archivists keep track of their records and create finding aids.”

The bottom line? “We’re saving these collections for people to use, to appreciate. You’re never bothering an archivist by asking them a question,” Kativa asserts. “You’ll probably make their day.”

Get involved!

Register for the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Othmer Library Open House, a celebration of the golden age of science advertising, on October 20. Or participate online: follow #AskAnArchivist day on Twitter on October 5, enjoy archival images on Instagram on October 7, and connect with Othmeralia year-round.


September 30, 2016