SAA's New Book Offers Best Practices and Advocacy Strategies for Managing Museum Archives

CHICAGO—Museum Archives: Practice, Issues, Advocacy, a new book from the Society of American Archivists edited by Rachel Chatalbash (Yale Center for British Art), Susan Hernandez (Cleveland Museum of Art), and Megan Schwenke (Harvard Art Museums Archives), articulates what museum archivists do, the impact of their work, and how archivists can position the archives as an indispensable hub of knowledge and activity within their institutions. Twenty-seven museum archivists provide practical guidance on the day-to-day management of archives and explore strategies to effectively carry out the museum archives' work.

Written for anyone working in a museum archives, the book is divided into three sections. Part one applies archival theory, functions, and processes to a museum context. Part two examines records frequently found in museum archives, such as audiovisual records and oral histories, and how to appropriately steward them in collaboration with records creators and other museum departments. Part three considers several issues that museum archivists engage with, such as fundraising, provenance research, and the museum’s role in repatriation, restitution, and the return of cultural objects.

Although the concerns of museum archives can sometimes feel disconnected from the broader professional discourse, this book strives to reconnect museum archivists to that conversation. It offers practical guidance for the day-to-day management of museum archives and explores strategies archivists can use within their institutions to negotiate for resources and realize the museum archives’ goals.

In addition to the editors, contributors include Seth Anderson (Yale University Library), Susan Anderson (American Philosophical Society), Brad Bauer (New York University Abu Dhabi), Ellen Brooks (Wisconsin Library Systems), Rebecca Chandler (AVP), Emily Connell (Greenfield Library), Maygene Daniels, Sarah R. Demb (Harvard University Archives), Nancy Enneking (Getty Research Institute), Christina Velazquez Fidler (Bancroft Library), Jessica Gambling (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Heather Gendron (Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library), Melissa Gonzalez (Houston Community College), Rebecca Morgan (American Museum of Natural History), Samantha Norling (Museum of Art at Newfields), Suzanne Noruschate (University of Southern California Libraries), Michael Pahn (Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian), Lesley Parilla (George Washington's Mount Vernon Library), Lynette Stoudt (Georgia Historical Society Research Center), Dawn Sueoka (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Library), Jennie Thomas (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), Madeleine Thompson (Wildlife Conservation Society), Lindsay Turley (Museum of the City of New York), and Kathleen M. Williams (National Gallery of Art).

Learn more about Museum Archives: Practice, Issues, Advocacy in the SAA Bookstore.