2021 Museum Archives Section Annual Business Meeting Minutes

Museum Archives Section Annual Business Meeting (Virtual), July 6, 2021

Attendance: 58

I. Welcome (Chair, Shah Sharad)

II. Elections (Vice-chair/chair-elect, Katrina O’Brien)

III. Officer reports

a. Secretary Tara Laver

b. Newsletter Editor Cate Peebles

c. Working Group Co-Chair Megan Schwenke

d. Web Liaison Shannon Morelli

IV. Council Liaison Announcements (Melissa Gonzales)

V. Questions/Announcements from the floor

VI. Silver Linings Presentations


I. Chair Sharad Shah opened the meeting and welcomed attendees. He noted that in light of COVID, the year had been one of adjustment; he thanked the section for the opportunity to serve as chair.

II. Vice chair/Chair-elect chair Katrina O’Brien shared that the election results were not yet available as the election was ongoing and encouraged members to vote. She expressed enthusiasm for coming on as chair of the section.

III. Officer Reports

a. Secretary Tara Laver had sent out the 2021 minutes earlier for review and linked to them in the chat. After a brief overview of the minutes, she asked for any questions or corrections and received none. Katrina O’Brien moved to accept them as written, and Joe Schill seconded. Members voted to approve by raising hands in Zoom.

b. Newsletter Editor Cate Peebles was unable to attend, but on her behalf, Sharad Shah announced that the next newsletter deadline is at the end of July, and the issue will be out in early August. 

c. Working Group Co-chair Megan Schwenke reviewed the group’s two projects for the year, a review and update of the Standards and Best Practices Resource Guide and the Museum Archives Guidelines.

i. Standards and Best Practices Resource Guide. The guide was first put together in 2011 to make sharing policies easier. This year the Working Group formed small groups to identify those that were out of date and solicit new ones and look at how they were organized. They were especially looking for updated policies and forms related to initiatives around inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA). In that vein, Megan highlighted the addition to the arrangement and description and reference and access/use services sections of harmful language and descriptive practices warnings and updated research access policies. She also thanked Web Liaison Shannon Morelli for her technical support of the project. to make it possible. 

ii. Museum Archives Guidelines. The guidelines were sent out for review to 12 sections, and the working group held two Zoom sessions to give members and interested parties the opportunity to discuss the guidelines and provide feedback. They compiled the feedback and incorporated it into the guidelines. After a final review by section leadership, which will happen shortly, the Working Group will submit the updated standard to the SAA Standards Committee for review at their fall meeting. Stay tuned for updates.

iii. Megan announced that the Working Group would meet in August to discuss its project for the year and invited anyone to join, noting they especially want representation from a diversity of museum types, geography, etc.

IV. Council Liaison Melissa Gonzales provided an update on the Council’s actions for the year.

a. Shared link (https://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/Revised%20Strategic%20Plan%2...)  to strategic plan that council worked on last fall, with four groups focusing on different elements. Melissa headed the group working on DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility) and cultural competency across the organization, which is a priority for the organization and needs to be handled holistically across the organization and not limited to a specific group or section. With that in mind, they resurrected the Council Internal Working Group on DEIA from a few years ago so they could create a strategic plan focused solely on DEIA as its own entity. For that they are using a lot of the feedback from the Diversity Committee’s DEIA priorities and forums from a year ago and the reports they subsequently issued. Meg Tamala is heading that group. After it is drafted it will be distributed to sections, and there will be a forum at the upcoming annual meeting.

b. Hired new exec director, Jacqualine Price Osafo. She starts July 15 and will have some overlap with Nancy Beaumont to ensure a smooth transition. 

c. A Census II is expected to roll out in September 2021, so be on the lookout for that. There will be a related forum at the annual meeting.

d. Salary Compensation Taskforce will be sending out a survey.

e. Approved salary transparency for SAA jobs board and other communication channels SAA can control. 

f. Last year Council developed a list of forum topics and are developing forums throughout this year to hold, to help provide transparency and to garner feedback from members.

g. Approved deficit budget for FY22; no component section requests included in that.

h. Reminded members that the regular annual meeting runs August 2-6 and encouraged them to register. She highlighted plenaries and business meeting, the diversity forum on 8/6, and the leadership forum which will be held over three days (July 27, July 28, July 29at 12 ET). Encouraged members to move forward with initiatives and to ask forgiveness later, don’t wait for permission. But, the leadership forum will help you understand how to navigate the organization more effectively.

i. Question in chat: how much of a deficit budget are we looking at? Answer: $42,000

V. Sharad called for any questions before moving on to presentations? There were none.

VI. Presentations: The section was treated to three presentations around the theme of “Silver Linings of 2020,” highlighting projects museum archivists were able to accomplish last year despite its attendant difficulties. Presenters and presentations included:

a. “Enhancing Our Digital Collections,” Nicole Davis, Museum of Flight

b. “Transformative Times: Steps to Reckoning with Institutional History,” Sana Masood, Wildlife Conservation Society

c. “From Pandemic Pastime to Pivotal Program: Archival Authorities at the Corning Museum of Glass,” Colleen McFarland Rademaker and Joe Schill, Corning Museum of Glass.

d. Q &A

VII. Adjourned

Respectfully submitted by Secretary Tara Laver