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On Saturday, November 7th, our LIS 652 Archives Management class had the good fortune of being allowed a private tour of Doris Duke's Shagri La - Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures, led by archivist, Dawn Sueoka. Doris Duke, was an heiress and philanthropist, who traveled the world and learned about different cultures. In her travels, she also collected an amazing array of Islamic art. Upon entering, we were greeted with intricate layers of artwork embedded in the ceiling, walls, furniture, light fixtures, and all the spaces we occupied. As we wandered through the courtyard next, we could see how careful landscaping also added to the beauty of the estate.
We learned from Dawn about some of the preservation challenges of having open-air areas within Hawaii's tropical climate, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and its salty spray ... all beautiful, but also notoriously bad for collections. What was interesting to note, was they discovered the objects seem to have adjusted -- in fact, in the case of some composite objects e.g. objects made with wood and mother of pearl inlay, and other materials, if the object was placed in "ideal" temperature and RH settings, it would cause some of the pieces to pop out as the materials expanded or retracted in a controlled environment. So, in a sense the environment works well for some of the objects. We learned there are visiting interns and conservators who work on different environmental challenges within the estate. An example we could see, was in the foyer, upon initial entry, where the ceiling which was comprised of beautiful designs painted and carved / gilded in wood, which we were told an intern spent time working on this past summer. Read this awesome blog post about it for more detail.
Each room we saw, was decorated in an original way, showcasing different themes and art. One treat, was also having the opportunity to "meet" Hermione Granger, the large drop-freezer recently acquired to freeze some of the items in the collection that had pest issues. Hermione sits outside the textile room, where Dawn had set up some interesting archival objects for us to view. The room was cooled, and the papers we saw showed preliminary drawings of the estate, photographs, and other interesting papers. Dawn mentioned it's been useful to have the records on-hand, so they can track how things were done. She also pointed out the importance of respect des fonds, and keeping the Hawaii records with the estate here, and how integral it has been to referencing issues with the estate.
A big Mahalo goes out to Dainan Skeem, our instructor for Archives Management, for securing this amazing opportunity for our class. I've been thoroughly enjoying the curriculum offered by the LIS program at UH Manoa, and especially the archives track courses!
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Herbaria, are instutitions that collect and preserve plant specimens from various regions. Some are international, and attempt to have comprehensive collections, while others are national, local, or more specialized. I found the process of learning about herbaria to be fun and I appreciated the experience. These collections serve as a store of reference material for researchers who can study specimens over long periods of time. Herbaria are vital to medical, and environmental research and can also serve as seed repositories for rare specimens.
My classmate, Kelsey, who serves on the board of the student chapter of the Society of American Archivists with me, was also really interested in the topic. Together we created a slide presentation you can view here: http://bit.do/herbaria. We visited the Joseph F. Rock Herbarium, here on campus, and had an excellent tour provided to us by Dr. Michael B. Thomas, the Collection Manager. He walked us through the history of herbaria, the various herbaria in Hawaii, answered questions about preservation challenges, and also showed us the process that their specimens go through once they're collected in the field and then brought back to the facility. All the photos above were taken during our site visit.
The video below, from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, was really neat to watch as I neared the end of my research assignment about herbaria. The assignment was part of my LIS 620, Conservation of Library & Archival Materials, course, taught by Deborah Dunn.
On Friday, August 14th, officers from the UHM Society of American Archivists student chapter (SAAsc), met with Hawaiian Historical Society (HHS) Preservation Librarian - Nicki Garces, and Executive Director - Jennifer Higa, for a tour and discussion about the upcoming Fall 2015 semester. The SAAsc, is fortunate to have the HHS as our sponsor site this semester, and there will be monthly events happening for members of the SAAsc! The HHS is a non-profit organization that provides public access to their library, where anyone interested in researching Hawaii and the Pacific is able to visit. They do welcome donations as well. For more info on the HHS, please visit their website: https://www.hawaiianhistory.org/
The SAAsc is looking forward to working with fellow LIS students, archives professionals, and the HHS this fall! Nicki gave us an awesome tour of their library and showed us so many interesting things.
Some other pictures taken during out visit. It was a great day!
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On July 28, 2015, The Association of Hawaii Archivists (AHA), held a site tour at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center. The facility, is located on Ford Island, and it's an impressive structure, that repurposed two old hangars, by linking them together with a central complex built between them. It is a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold building.
There were beautiful exhibits featuring marine wildlife and coastal environments near the entrance, and one of the first things we were shown, was a giant white sphere hanging from the ceiling, called Science on a Sphere (SOS). Patty performed a demonstration on how they use it as an educational tool. She could track the movement of weather systems, as well as flight paths, and also fun stuff they do with the kids, like make it look like a giant eyeball.
The library is on the first floor and run by one librarian named Ani. Her primary patrons are scientists, so she does not do much reference work, since many of the scientists already come to her with specific resources they'd like to obtain for their research. Ani said she does a lot of document delivery for these requests, and also works with updating their database (they use Oracle) and digitization. It was interesting to hear a federal librarian speak about her experiences, which made me realize yet another interesting area of librarianship! Another, separate repository, was located upstairs: The International Tsunami Information Center, which housed pamphlets and ephemera, books, maps, etc. and it was interesting to see pamphlets in multiple languages with different target audiences. Both are open to the public.
At the end of the tour, Chad, a Marine Biologist shared some stories and information about the work they do, and in particular, how the public can help when they spot a monk seal, by calling NOAA right away, and not trying to assist the animal themselves. He said hooks that get caught in a monk seal's throat are one of the most difficult types of surgical procedures to perform.
To report stranded / entangled marine mammals:1-888-256-9840
I am really happy AHA extends these amazing opportunities to its members.
On Saturday, March 28th, 2015, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit the Scottish Rite Cathedral as a member of the Association of Hawaii Archivists. I had no idea there was a library inside this beautiful building, nor did I really know much about the cathedral, except that it was an impressive and mysterious building. Along with the cathedral itself, we also toured the Masonic Library located within. Our guide, William "Pete" Holsomback, gave an excellent and fascinating tour of the facilities, patiently fielded many questions from the group, and provided us with a lot of interesting historical info. Adding to the mystique surrounding Masons in general, we learned the group is not Scottish nor is it connected to Scotland in any way. In Hawaii, one of their most visible works, is the Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu. There were many interesting photographs, memorabilia, and books. They also publish some pamphlets and books of their own available for sale. Interesting to note for any library buffs out there: the library is open to the public.
I wish I'd written this post sooner, like right after the site visit, but I didn't have my website up and running at the time. I will post more photos from the day below.
Dropping Mad Library Science!
Here is where I write about everything library and archives related going on.