2024 Museum Archives Symposium


Museum Archives Symposium

Friday, May 10, 2024

Yale University Art Gallery

1111 Chapel Street

New Haven, CT

Prompted by the 2022 SAA publication, Museum Archives: Practice, Issues, Advocacy, the Yale Center for British Art and SAA’s Museum Archives Section are hosting a one-day symposium to examine the current position and future directions of the museum archives field. The symposium will be held in person at the Yale University Art Gallery and livestreamed. Though there is no cost, if you plan to attend in person, register to reserve your spot at https://britishart.yale.edu/exhibitions-programs/museum-archives. To attend virtually, just tune in to the livestream.


(All times Eastern)





10:15–10:20 am: Welcome

Tara Laver, Senior Archivist, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art


10:20–10:40 am: Introduction 

Rachel Chatalbash, Deputy Director for Research, Yale Center for British Art


Session 1: 10:40 am – 12 pm

Engaging Communities: New Approaches in Museum Archives

Chair: Megan Schwenke, Senior Archivist/Records Manager, Harvard Art Museums

This session will explore unique engagement projects that bring museum archives collections directly to a variety of users via interactive storytelling and educational partnerships. Together the talks will demonstrate ways to expand collection access and connect a range of audiences to history and will provide insight and ideas to museum archivists seeking to do the same.

10:40–10:45 am: Session introduction by Megan Schwenke

10:45–11:05 am

Christina Volpe, Curator, Barnes Museum, Southington, CT

Brewing History: Integrating Museum Archives into Community Outreach at Southington's Barnes Museum

11:05–11:25 am

Abigail Harrison, Professor of Art History and Museum Studies, University of Leeds 

Whose Power?: Participatory Action Research with Young People in Museum Archives

11:25–11:45 am

Marietta Carr, Librarian and Archivist, Schenectady County Historical Society

History in Their Hands: K–12 Education in the Archives 

11:45 am – 12 pm

Q+A moderated by Megan Schwenke


12–1:30 pm: Lunch


Session 2: 1:30–2:35 pm

Studies in Museum Archives

Chair: Susan Hernandez, Museum Archivist, Cleveland Museum of Art

This session will examine how museum archivists can creatively and strategically pull back the curtain and bring transparency to their collection holdings for both internal and external audiences. Speakers will detail examples of exhibitions and tours, records management programs, and integrated description to consider how historical documentation of a museum’s history and object collection can bring museum archives to life.


1:30–1:35 pm

Session introduction by Susan Hernandez

1:35–1:55 pm

Marie Penny, Michael D. Coe Archivist, Planting Fields Foundation

Archives Speak

1:55–2:15 pm

Meg Ocampo, Archivist/Records Manager, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 

Operationalizing Records Management at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

2:15–2:35 pm

Sarah R. Demb, Deputy Director, Records and Information Management, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Wicked Fragmentation: Archival Dissociation as a Tool for Reparation and Inclusivity

2:35–2:45 pm

Q+A moderated by Susan Hernandez


2:45–2:55 pm: comfort break 


Session 3: 2:55–4:10 pm

Access and Appraisal

Chair: Jessica Quagliaroli, Chief Archivist, Yale Center for British Art

This session will examine how museum archivists can work within the structures of their museums to successfully reassess appraisal practices and advocate for revised access policies. Drawing upon their own experiences, speakers will share how their work in these two areas directly contributed to new access policies for materials with Personally Identifiable Information (PII), archival material related to sensitive content, and the elimination of barriers such as use fees.

2:55–3 pm

Session introduction by Jessica Quagliaroli

3–3:20 pm

Laura Uglean Jackson, Digital Archivist, Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Permissions and Fees in the Cenozoic: Dissolving Access Barriers at a Nature and Science Museum Archives

3:20–4 pm

Erin Kinhart, Head of Collections Processing and Digitization, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; Marguerite Roby, Photograph Archivist, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives; and Celia Emmelhainz, Supervisory Anthropologist, National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution 

Reappraisal and Reassessment in Museum Archives at the Smithsonian Institution

4–4:15 pm

Q+A moderated by Jessica Quagliaroli

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