What are HIDDEN TREASURES? Well, let’s break that down. Something that is HIDDEN can be out of sight, masked, cloaked, or behind something or someone else. A TREASURE can be something or someone that is a gem, or rare, precious, inspiring, sparkling, or really beautiful. Take your pick of any combination of words in these two categories and you have defined the SI NMAH Archives Center’s staff of volunteers who work behind the scenes.
The Archives Center has had “Behind- the-Scenes Volunteers” for about two decades, perhaps since its inception. The group has ebbed and flowed and changed over the years – at one point there were more than 20. At present, there are the intrepid dozen or so. These tireless souls come to the Archives Center year in and year out for one, two, or three days per week (sometimes five!), helping the program with the myriads of projects that must be managed by Center staff. AC volunteers help process collections large (such as the Orange Bowl Collection – 90 ft.) and small (such as the Ramsey Lewis Collection – 3 ft.). They also help field reference requests and sometimes connect the Center with prospective donors of collections.
|Archives Center volunteers processing the Pullman Collection with archivist Franklin Robinson, Jr.|
|New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad Company pass for C.H. Summers, 1898.|
Western Union Telegraph Co. Records, Archives Center
So “What are hidden treasures,” you ask? I would answer: SI NMAH AC “Behind- the- Scenes” volunteers. We would do a lot less work without their help and they will be sorely missed during the coming months.
Deborra Richardson, Chair
Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History