Join the Utah State Archives and Records Service on October 11th at this year’s free annual Utah History Conference, “Local Matters: Interweaving Historical Threads of Community,” sponsored by the Utah Division of State History.
Two of our own will be presenting this year. Alan Barnett will be highlighting historic homes with names and Jim Kichas will be part of a panel on the Archives’ Joe Hill records.
As the devastating events of Hurricane Harvey have shown us, we have little control over the disasters that impact our lives and our records. The way we respond to these disasters dictates the continuity of our operations and the preservation of our cultural resources.
Yet, not all disasters come with hurricane-force winds or earthquake shakes. Just last spring the cold storage for the State Archives microfilm collections had a minor flood that required immediate response to dry out not only the storage area but some of the microfilm. While such “minor” events seem small, without immediate attention these situations could grow to major catastrophes.
Understanding that these events can happen to any institution at any time, the Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Services (WESTPAS), in cooperation with the Utah State Archives and Records Service, will provide a free, 2-part disaster planning workshop as part of Archives Month.
Complete a disaster response & collection salvage plan
Learn how to train staff to implement your plan effectively
Set pre- and post-disaster action priorities for your collections
Understand practical decision-making skills needed during an emergency
Experience salvage procedures for books, documents, photos & objects
Part 1 of the workshop includes 2.5 hours of online webinars about prevention and preparedness. Participants can view the webinars on their own or join with others at the State Archives to view the webinars as follows:
Webinar 1: Friday, September 15, 2017, 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Webinar 2: Monday, October 16, 2017, 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Part 2 of the workshop includes a day-long seminar about response and recovery.
Monday, October 23, 2017 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Participation in the in-person workshop requires viewing the online webinars BEFORE attending the Part 2 in-person workshop AND completing the workshop assignments given during the webinars. Register Here for the in-person event.(This URL opens the WESTPAS calendar: register by clicking the month and day of the workshop desired.)
Who should attend?
Administrators and staff responsible for emergency preparedness and continuity of operations (COOP) planning, response, and decision-making should attend. This also includes local and state appointed records officers and chief administrative officers.
Participating institutions will be invited to join an informal network of WESTPAS trained personnel to provide mutual aid in the event of emergencies involving collections in your region.
This event is FREE for all attendees. The funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Every year on May 1st, the Society of American Archivists focuses on how institutions can plan to preserve their collections in the event of an emergency. This year, the Utah State Archives and Records Service was able to participate in this nationwide campaign in a variety of ways.
On April 20, 2017, Archives Staff participated in Utah’s annual earthquake drill (Great Utah ShakeOut) and reevaluated our red “go bags.” During the drill, staff huddled under desks and tables until the “shaking” stopped. We then quickly and efficiently moved to our designated safe location until it was deemed safe to return to work. Staff were asked to determine the successes and failures of the drill to be discussed at a later time.
For our actual MayDay events this morning, staff gathered for a large re-appraisal project.
One of the core concepts of collection survival is to ensure that records are identified and maintained according to their appraised value. This allows for records to be destroyed or preserved in accordance with their approved retention schedules. As part of a larger cleanup and inventory project, a number of boxes were identified in our permanent repository that had been marked for destruction. Yet, some of the boxes appeared to have intrinsic historic value. These boxes needed to be reviewed and reappraised to determine if the records should be destroyed according to their retention schedules, or if the retention schedule should updated to allow the records to be incorporated into the permanent repository collection and maintained. As the old adage states, many hands make light work. In a few short hours we were able to correctly appraise all of the record series, many of which were slated for permanent preservation.
With the re-appraisal project finished, the staff gathered in the afternoon to discuss disaster preparedness and recovery. A video discussing the 2011 and 2016 earthquakes in New Zealand was introduced to open a discussion about planning for our response to such an event here in Utah. (The Wasatch Fault here in the state is an active fault that could cause serious damage).
The discussion also included a followup to our Great Utah ShakeOut drills and how we can improve our policies to better protect our staff and the records in our care.
As our preservationist, Alan Barnett, mentioned last week, preserving the records of Utah’s government for future generations is a core part of our job. A key component of that preservation is to ensure that the records will survive in the event of a disaster. Each year MayDay allows us to set aside some time to plan and prepare for the worst case scenario. This ensures that those future generations will have the records they need to understand our present and past.
Currently there are eleven officially recognized regional repositories throughout the state. The regional repositories are authorized to collect, process, preserve and make available historical records for research and study by the public. The State Archives can provide copies of government records to these Regional Repositories so people don’t have to travel to Salt Lake City to see government records for their region. Working together with institutions throughout the state, the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board is committed to preserving Utah’s historical records for future generations.
On March 30, 2017 representatives of these repositories will be meeting at the Utah State Archives to learn, exchange ideas, and plan for the future of the program as this is the 10th anniversary for this meeting. The USHRAB Consortium is also invited to this meeting.
The Utah State Archives is proud to announce that we will be an exhibitor at RootsTech, one of the largest genealogical conferences in the world, in Salt Lake City, Utah from February 8-10, 2017. We’re excited to connect with both those who know of our extensive resources available for family history and those who may not (yet). Look for us in the Expo Hall of the Salt Palace in booth #1422!
We are now midway through Archives Month, and the Utah State Archives continues to direct its focus and activities on celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the Utah State Capitol. This week we would like to share information on another new addition to the Digital Archives that documents the earliest planning and construction of “the people’s building.”
The Capitol Commission was formed in 1909 and authorized to select a suitable design for the building, and oversee the execution of plans and specifications for the erection of a State Capitol building on the Capitol grounds in Salt Lake City.
The minutes of the Capitol Commission have been digitized and are now available for online research through the Digital Archives. These minutes document the formal meetings of the Capitol Commission between 1909 and the completion of the Capitol in 1916. Meeting minutes record the names of members present at meetings, rules for a design competition for the building, information on outside consultants utilized during the planning and construction stages, expenses incurred by commission members in furtherance of their duties, group discussions about bids and the issuing of contracts, agreements for expenditures, and a list of the original cornerstone contents placed during building construction in 1914.
The Utah State Archives is pleased to kickoff Utah Archives Month with the first in a month-long blog series spotlighting records in our holdings that tell the story of the construction of Utah’s State Capitol building (celebrating its 100th year anniversary this month!).
This week we are highlighting photographs from the Capitol Commission which document the construction of the State Capitol. The majority of series 11275 contains pictures of the finished capitol building, ground breaking ceremony, initial excavation of the construction site, and individuals involved in the construction process. The collection also holds a unique commemorative photograph album produced by Shipler’s Commercial Photographs of Salt Lake City which was presented to commission members. The album documents the various phases of construction and construction details including cement, granite, and marble work, monoliths, interior details, phases of arch and dome construction, and numerous pictures from various angles of the exterior.
Stay tuned throughout October as we continue to tell the story of the construction of Utah’s State Capitol through the archival records held by the Utah State Archives!