Archives and Manuscripts 14

For the final blog post for the Archives and Manuscripts, I wanted to do a look back on the entire semester and pull out what was the some of the most interesting things I learned. One of the things that I looked forward to learning was the theory behind archival practice since it would help inform my experience in the field. The lessons on privacy and copyright were some of the most impactful since they are major ethical concerns that I will need to remember no matter where I end up in the field of Public History. The need to balance the privacy of the people in the collection with the need to allow access to the historical record, is a fascinating paradox. Discounting things that need to be sealed by law for a time, such as medical records, I believe I would come down more on the side of access since that is the entire point of the archives. Indeed, if an archives, is not used then it serves no purpose as it is not enough just to save things for the sake of themselves but they must be used to inform the past in order to justify the expense that preserving entails. In addition to discussions on privacy, the idea that archives must also focus on outreach is an important lesson since it allows the archive to connect to the local community and became an important resource to the area. This is an important idea as is brings the archive out of being simply a repository to a way to connect people to history in a unique way. On a whole this class was very beneficial and I look forward to taking the skills I learned and implementing them in the real world.