Symposia

Museum Archives

Cosponsored by the Society of American Archivists’ Museum Archives Section and the Yale Center for British Art

In 2022, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) published Museum Archives: Practice, Issues, Advocacy (ed. Rachel Chatalbash, Susan Hernandez, and Megan Schwenke). This publication built on Museum Archives: An Introduction (William A. Deiss, 1984), which was significantly revised and expanded in a second edition by Deborah Wythe in 2004. It drew contributions from twenty-seven museum archivists to provide guidance and share best practices in advocating for the central role and value of the archives within the museum.

Collectively, these three SAA publications trace the growth and formalization of the museum archives field as a specialist subset of the archival profession while shedding light on the developments and challenges central to the field at the time of publication. Speaking to their contemporary moments, the books reflect the significant rise in the number of museum archives being established, the adoption of archival standards by museum archives, and the shift from paper-based to born-digital records in museums. In addition, the 2022 publication focuses significantly on advocacy work—both for museum archives staff and for museum archives collections—in developing a reciprocal relationship between museum object and archives holdings to position the archives as an indispensable hub of knowledge that complements other institutional collections.

Prompted by the new SAA publication, 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 online. 

For more information, please email ycba.research@yale.edu

 

Top image
A selection of materials from the Yale Center for British Art Archives, documented in the Study Room, YCBA, photo by Richard Caspole