Philip M. Hamer–Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award: San Diego Air and Space Museum

The San Diego Air and Space Museum is the 2022 recipient of the Philip M. Hamer–Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes individuals or institutions that have increased public awareness of archives documents. 

The San Diego Air and Space Museum houses one of the largest collections of images relating to aerospace history, including content about the space program, women in aviation, and nearly every aircraft built. In order to preserve the materials, increase their use and accessibility, and engage the community, the Museum digitized more than 320,000 images and uploaded them to To date, the Museum’s Flickr collection has had more than 350 million views. In addition to increasing awareness of the Museum’s vast collection, this project engaged the community through crowdsourced tagging and commenting, which also enhanced the collection’s metadata. The success of the Flickr account has resulted in a grant-funded project to import the metadata into the Museum’s digital asset management system for long-term preservation and to feature the collection in the University of California’s online portal Calisphere. 

The online images have been used by historians, environmentalists, lawyers, family historians, hobbyists, and many others. One community member was particularly appreciative of the documentation of Chinese Americans in the aviation field. Others were thrilled to see photographs of family members. The San Diego Air and Space Museum’s digitization effort has significantly increased public awareness and access to these images and has had a broad and positive impact on the diverse communities it serves.

The Hamer-Kegan Award was established in 1973 and is named for two SAA Fellows and former presidents. Past recipients include the Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections for the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center and the eScholarship Research Centre of the University of Melbourne, Australia.