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Today I got to go on an adventure. My supervisor gave me the opportunity to join her on a donor visit. I jumped at the chance to have this experience. There may not be another the rest of the quarter. We went to visit a local television station which is in the process of going out of business and selling their building. They contacted the archive because they had video footage and other things they thought might be of historical interest.

I learned a lot on this trip.

  1. Make sure it is within the focus of the archive or else…My supervisor asked a lot of questions and tried to keep our extremely enthusiastic guide focused on items that were of local significance. No syndicated tapes of The King of Queens for us. The focus of the archive must be preserved for practical reasons such as space and for ease of research.
  2. Hopefully you can make at least one preliminary visit before attempting to physically acquire anything. We are lucky in that the station is fairly close to the archive and we will easily be able to spend time working on site with no real inconvenience. We visited today just to assess if there was anything of value (we did find some really cool things), but if they were further away, we probably wouldn’t have the time and resources to devote as much energy to shuttling back and forth and doing on site work.
  3. Get other people involved. There was a great deal of discussion about how other local groups, like the museum, were contemplating acquiring some of the materials. There are many great things, like old equipment and other large items which may be great for the community, but they don’t fit into our scope and we would have no where to store them. I think this could be a great experience seeing the community reach out to preserve the history of a station which has recorded so much of the community’s history.
  4. Make sure both sides understand the exchange. My supervisor made very clear to ask what the donors were expecting from us and what we were expecting from them. Things like transfer of copyright are very important, especially in cases where visual and audio are involved.

Overall, I had a great time doing a little fieldwork and getting out from behind my desk. It was a little dusty, messy, and disorganized, but it was also an opportunity I do not think many interns have and I am grateful for it.