#AskAnArchivist Day - October 11, 2023

What Is #AskAnArchivist Day?

It’s an opportunity to:

  • Break down the barriers that make archivists seem inaccessible.
  • Talk directly to the public—via social media—about what you do, why it’s important and, of course, the interesting records with which you work.
  • Join with archivists around the country and the world to make an impact on the public’s understanding of archives while celebrating American Archives Month!
  • Interact with users, supporters, and prospective supporters about the value of archives.
  • Hear directly from the public about what they’re most interested in learning about from archives and archivists. 

How Does It Work?

On October 11, archivists around the country will take to social media to respond to questions shared with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Take this opportunity to engage via your personal and/or institutional accounts and to respond to questions posed directly to you or more generally to all participants.

Questions will vary widely, from the silly (What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?) to the practical (What should I do to be sure that my emails won’t get lost?), but each question will be an opportunity to share more about our work and our profession with the public. 

Between now and October 11:

PROMOTE #AskAnArchivist Day among your users and constituents via your institution’s website, social media accounts, blog, newsletter, and any other mediums available to you. View the public announcement (and feel free to pick up language from it for your own promotions).

For additional inspiration on what your promotion of #AskAnArchivist Day might look like, check out what your peers have done:

And these great examples of museums' promotions of #AskAMuseum Day:

Examples of possible social media promotion:

  • Happy #AskAnArchivist Day! Our archivists are waiting for YOUR questions. Tag us at @ACCOUNTHANDLE and use #AskAnArchivist.
  • Archivists at @ACCOUNTHANDLE are gearing up for #AskAnArchivist Day on October 11! Literally—documents and photo boxes stacked and waiting!

ENCOURAGE the public to use #AskAnArchivist and your institution’s social media handle (e.g., @smithsonian) when asking questions so you won’t miss any that are intended for you and so we will be able to track questions and answers to measure overall participation.

TALK to your staff and colleagues to develop a plan for responding to questions throughout the day. Will one person respond to all questions? Will you share the task? Will individuals sign up for time slots and let the public know who will be available when?

Here’s one example:

  • During #AskACurator Day, one person at the Indianapolis Museum of Art was selected to monitor both the general hashtag and tweets sent directly to @imamuseum. When direct questions came in or interesting general questions were posed via the hashtag, the designated monitor sent the questions to participating curators via email. The curators (and their archivist!) replied with their answers, and the monitor posted all answers from the @imamuseum Twitter/X account. 

CREATE an institutional social account if you don’t already have one. #AskAnArchivist Day and American Archives Month are both great opportunities to start one! Get started here.

And if an institutional social media account is not an option for you, answer questions from your personal account(s)! If your institutional affiliation and job title are not already listed on your profile, be sure to add that for the duration of #AskAnArchivist Day.

SHARE and GREET! Take advantage of this opportunity to join with archivists from around the country to talk to and hear directly from the public on October 11.

If you plan to participate on Twitter/X in particular, please email SAA Marketing and Communications Specialist with your Twitter/X handle so we can add you to the 2023 list of participants.