When one hears the word “archives” it is often a dusty old room full of binded books half falling apart that comes to mind.
But, that’s a stereotype, says Genevieve Weber of BC Archives, and part of the reason Oct. 3 has been dedicated as #AskAnArchivistDay.
The Twitter event invites anyone with a question – What do archives do? How do they work? How can I access them? – to tweet it out using #AskAnArchivistDay.
Weber will join archivists across Europe and North America in starting dialogue around the role archives play in society and providing answers on the spot, in real time.
At the BC Archives, part of the Royal BC Museum, the public is free to access materials any time – they just need to register and receive a membership card to come and go, similar to how a library card works.
Two days to go until #askanarchivist day! Prepare your questions for our staff – a few of our archivists will be standing by throughout the day on Wednesday to respond to your queries. From serious to silly, anything goes! @RoyalBCMuseum https://t.co/OISqafM1zc
— BC Archives (@BCArchives) October 1, 2018
“One interesting thing that we like to highlight in this day and age where we hear a lot of people talking about fake news,” Weber says, “is that our main purpose in keeping archival material is that it provides evidence of things and people that were happening in a certain time.”
The goal is to make materials accessible, says Weber, though sifting through old documents and maps or the copies of the Vancouver Island Treaty or Emily Carr’s diary the BC Archives houses, can be time consuming.
“It’s not like doing a Google search,” she says. “But it can be rewarding. You won’t get from a second hand account using primary materials.”
To accompany Ask An Archivist Day, Weber will also hold a lunch time talk to dig into the work of Alma Russell, a librarian and archivist herself, in celebration of Ask an Archivist Day and Women’s History Month.