April Showers bring May…Emergency Preparedness?

Severe weather across Central Georgia has caused quite a scare in 2017. As I literally write this during a tornado watch, I’m also reminded of the 55 storms we’ve had across Georgia this year – making us more dangerous than even Oklahoma. You may be asking what this has has to do with archives. Well, as we head out of April and in to May, archives across the nation celebrate May Day on May 1st, a day dedicated to the protection of archival collections.

The May Day website cites the Heritage Health Index, a report by the Institute of Museum and Library Services that addresses the “conditions and preservation needs of our nation’s collections” (HHI), which states that even after disasters as destructive as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast, very few institutions had actual disaster plans that were up to date (MayDay). Every year on May 1st, archivists and cultural heritage professionals attempt to change that.

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Georgia College Special Collections will be celebrating May Day by conducting a walk-through of our own collections keeping an eye out for unboxed material and boxes and other materials that are stored on the floor. We’ll be spending the day creating a plan for boxing materials that are currently loose, and moving items stored on the floor up on to shelves in our stacks. Fixing these problems will help our archive be more prepared for natural disasters and man-made disasters that could befall Georgia College. By making sure everything has a home on a shelf, we can lessen the possibility of water damage, smoke damage, or fire damage affecting our collections.

While we care for our own collections, what about your own at home? As we at the archives check our level of disaster preparedness, it might be time to play along at home to check your own precious family photos and documents and to create an emergency plan for your own items. The Georgia State Archives in Morrow, Georgia has created a checklist of items that are essential disaster records, or those records that should be kept with you in the event of an emergency, as well as how to back up these items. Other sources like the Northeast Document Preservation Center cover photo preservation and emergency salvaging of documents like wet photographs. In this post, we’ll cover the basics so that you too can have an emergency preparedness plan for your documents and photographs. Continue reading “April Showers bring May…Emergency Preparedness?”

Making W.A.V.E.S.

In 1943, Georgia State College for Women was selected as one of four colleges for training U.S. Navy W.A.V.E.S. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the W.A.V.E.S., which stands for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, it was a program created by The United States Congress in 1942 — aggressively sought after by former senator Carl Vinson — to include women as military personnel for World War II. The W.A.V.E.S. were accepted into the U.S. Navy and treated equally as male personnel in many respects: They were given the same pay and same discipline, with the difference being that W.A.V.E.S. could not “serve aboard combat ships or aircraft, and initially were restricted to duty in the continental United States.” This U.S.-only duty stipulation would later change during the war when the W.A.V.E.S. were given permission to serve in specific overseas U.S. occupations. By the end of WWII, about two and a half percent of the Navy’s total power were made up of Navy W.A.V.E.S. “In some places WAVES constituted a majority of the uniformed Naval personnel.” The other sites for training chosen by the Bureau of Navy Personnel were Smith College, the University of Indiana, and the University of Wisconsin. One of the original reasons for the W.A.V.E.S.’ formation was to create a group of women Navy personnel that could relieve men from shore duty so they could assume active sea duty roles.

Continue reading “Making W.A.V.E.S.”