If you've been following our past posts this American Archives Month, you might be thinking...Archives sound pretty cool! If so, you'd be right. If you're wondering...What do archivists do all day? What's it like to work with all that old stuff?...read on, my friend.
I don't often take pictures of myself working in the Archives because I'm, you know, busy working. Above you will find a younger Christy Fic (on the right), during my days as a contract processing archivist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Anthropological Archives. My colleague and I spent 9 months organizing the records of a curator who spent 50 years in the Anthropology Department at the National Museum of Natural History. Here we hold up our most prized discovery, a large cardboard cut out of his head, which once hung somewhere in the museum or in the Anthro offices. If you want to learn more about my favorite anthropologist, or be amazed by how I organized over 220 linear feet of stuff and wrote a 400+ page finding aid in 9 months, check out the William C. Sturtevant Papers. [side note: archivists are not humble, and I understand this accomplishment will likely be more impressive to other archivists than to non-archivists]
Ok, so archivists organize dead peoples' papers....what else? Now that I've moved out of museums (and away from the horrifying taxidermy that peered at me around every corner), I spend a lot of time with students, faculty and staff, and alumni. On any given day, you might find your University Archivist:
Reviewing the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council Collection with CVRTC President Garrett Stahlman, Fall 2017
The more you read, the more I know you want to work in archives. I haven't even told you that most archivists wear jeans and fleece on a regular basis. Collections can be dirty, and archives can be cold (the better to protect our collections for the long term). Living the dream. If this sounds like the life for you, dear reader, I highly recommend the following resources to learn more about a career in archives: