Wednesday, April 20, 2016


So, MARAC's Spring 2016 meeting was held in Pittsburgh, luckily for me — close enough to drive to and it's a city I like. It seems the converging rivers twined around our downtown hotel venue provided some thematic inspiration; the program was entitled "Archival Confluence: Connecting Theory and Practice."

The schedule is much more condensed than SAA. The list of what I crammed into two short days easily might have been spread over four or five. (Especially since Thursday was just driving, arriving, and trying to find dinner.)
New Member Orientation, at 8:30 am (!!!)

Breakfast and Plenary with PA State Archivist David Carmicheal, who was much more delightful than I expected: "Between a Rock and Hard Place: Archivists at the Confluence of Past and Future." (A print version of this talk was published in MARAC's newsletter, The Mid-Atlantic Archivist, Summer 2016; Volume 45, No. 3, ISSN 0738-9396; beginning on page 10.)

S4 | Culture in Transit: Digitizing and Democratizing NYC's Cultural Heritage. I think this was my favorite session of the conference. This is exactly the kind of project I get really excited about, and they have been excellent about documenting everything. See: (Partner organizations include: Brooklyn Public Library, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Queens Library)

Luncheon speaker Eric C. Shiner, Director of the Andy Warhol Museum: "Consumption X Production." Among lots of interesting things he said, I was perhaps most struck by his discussion Andy as collector (hoarder?)  and how that is sort of essential to his process of becoming (both artist and persona). Reminds me a bit of another collector/designer I know...

S6 | The DIY Manager: Teaching Yourself What You Need to Be an Effective Manager. (I did not learn how to be an effective manager, but I also didn't take ANY notes, so I can't recall why not.)

Schmoozing with vendors ... trying not to nap when retrieving jacket from hotel room...

S15 | The Duchamp Research Portal: Moving an Idea to Proof of Concept. This project is still in process, involving a partnership between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and two French organizations: the Centre Georges Pompidou and the l'Association Marcel Duchamp (his family foundation, I think). Other speakers on the panel are consultants from yet more institutions: Brooklyn Museum, the Dedalus Foundation, and Temple University Libraries.

Reception at the Heinz History Center museum, where we wandered drunkenly through the incredible and incredibly nostalgic vintage toys exhibit.

Impromptu visit, on foot, to the Warhol (skipping dinner until something like 11:00 pm and thus I was dead).
S16 | Who's Driving the Bus? How Digitization Is Influencing Collections. This was a crew from UNC Greensboro. Well put-together and organized, but not very visionary. (Is that a fair criticism?) I'm not sure there's much for me to learn from hearing that digitization is complicated and imperfect and that everybody needs to compromise and play nice with each other.

S23 | In the Beginning: Building an Archive from the Ground Up. These guys were actually interesting (although missing a speaker). It was sort of like a more practical version of the "DIY Manager" session earlier, and I think I got more out of it. Like, realizing I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be good at working as an independent consulting archivist embedded in an unfriendly corporation. I just don't have that kind of self-esteem.

No comments:

Post a Comment