New Book: Women in the Museum: Lessons From the Workplace

From the authors:

Museums are complex workplaces.  Guardians of America’s patrimony, they are simultaneously thought of as traditional, boring and irrelevant, but also progressive, fun and important. With collections and exhibitions lauded and vilified, museums are both significant economic drivers and astoundingly vulnerable organizations.  Collectively United States museums employ nearly 353,000 people, almost half of them women.  There is no denying that most museums are stimulating and wondrous, one-of-a-kind, work environments, but two years ago we could not have imagined the gender inequity lying beneath their placid exteriors.
Women in the Museum explores the professional lives of the field’s female workforce, a cohort that grew exponentially from the late 19th-century to the present. It chronicles the challenges working women in the museum field face today, as well as their responses to widespread entrenched and unconscious gender bias.  In doing so, we hope it clarifies how women’s work in museums is different from men’s, and why we think museums must create, foster and protect a level playing field.
Along the way, we asked ourselves these questions:  Are workplace challenges more acute for women if a field is under-resourced, under-appreciated, or in some instances, under-utilized? How is leadership and internal decision-making different in female dominated museums?  Do public perceptions change toward fields where females make up half or more of the workforce?
It is difficult to write about women in the workplace and not write about diversity, and we have been taken to task for that.  It’s especially difficult in a field that since its founding has been a bastion of white, middle and upper-class men and subsequently women.  While issues of racial and ethnic diversity, sexual orientation, age, physical ability and class are often aligned with gender equity, we’ve chosen to take a bite out of the broadest and most basic of topics in one of the narrowest of fields — an environment almost exclusively nonprofit, under-resourced, and little understood by the public.  Our intent is to pull back the curtain on a long-standing and unresolved gender issue:  equity.  What we’ve written is an opening salvo deserving wider and deeper scrutiny.
We believe museums create communities. Those communities include women as subjects of collections, exhibits and programming, women as audience members and supporters, and as employees.  That said, we would like to suggest that for us diversity is the presumption that everyone has a place at the table. If you think those ideas are remnants of the 1970’s, read on. We believe there is still much work to do. And for us, inclusion as well as equity are what is important, and making sure women are represented is the place to start.

One Book, One Profession 2017

How can archivists create a diverse record or recruit and retain a diverse workforce? Whose stories are being told—and by whom? Where are the silences in the record? These questions and more are at the heart of the 2017 One Book, One Profession selection, Through the Archival Looking Glass: A Reader on Diversity and Inclusion, edited by Mary A. Caldera and Kathryn M. Neal.

In ten essays incorporating theory and case studies, archivists explore prominent themes related to diversity and question the archive on representation, authority, neutrality, objectivity, and power. This book illustrates a multitude of perspectives and issues so that fresh voices can emerge alongside more familiar ones, and new concepts can be examined along with new perspectives on established ideas.

Diversity is an ever-evolving concept; the term itself is increasingly rephrased as inclusion. By stimulating further ideas and conversation, we can come closer to a common understanding of what diversity and inclusion are or can be and, perhaps most importantly, how they may be realized in archives and the archival profession. As Stephen Scarth of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland wrote in his review of the book for Archives and Records, The Journal of the Archives and Records Association: “This collection of essays should be best viewed as a springboard which will hopefully inspire further original thought on what is still an emerging subject.”

The ideas in this book don’t end with the last page. For the second year of One Book, One Profession, join your colleagues in reading, talking about, and translating these theories into action.

Let’s read Through the Archival Looking Glass—together!

Group Discount on Book Purchase: Host a book discussion within your institution, among archivists in your community, or at a regional meeting—group orders of 5 or more books receive a 40% discount!

Study Guide Questions: Click here to download.

Related Reading & Resources: Click here for a list of other resources.

Selected Events

ARCHIVES 2017 in Portland

Twitter Discussions

  • Follow #OBOP17 on twitter for more updates and to join the conversation profession-wide

New Issue: Information & Culture

A new issue of Information & Culture is out! Articles in 52-2:

• NORAD’s Combat Operations Center
• Nineteenth-Century Croatian Female Writer Dragojla Jarnević
• Elizabeth Cleveland Morriss, the Literacy and Adult Elementary Education Movement in North Carolina
• The Kinsey Institute’s Sexual Nomenclature: A Thesaurus
• Public Library Movement, the Digital Library Movement, and the Large-Scale Digitization Initiative
• The Internet in Argentina and Brazil

New Issue: Information & Culture: A Journal of History

Current Issue: Volume 52 Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2017)

Paper Dancers: Art as Information in Twentieth-Century America
Whitney E. Laemmli

Around 1940, a New York City organization known as the Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) began a decades-long effort to promote a system known as “Labanotation.” Designed to capture the ephemeral, three-dimentional complexity of dance on the flat surface of paper, the DNB believed that Labanotation held the key to modernizing the art form. Focusing on the period between 1940 and 1975, this article catalogues the Dance Notation Bureau’s efforts to make dance both “literate” and “Scientific” and explores how these efforts contributed to broader transformations in the definitions of creativity, preservation, authorship and dance itself.

A Cost-Saving Machine: Computing at the German Allianz Insurance Company
Corinna Schlombs

This article provides a close study of information processing at Allianz, a West German insurance company, in the two decades following World War II. It contributes an international perspective to the history of information by analyzing corporate information technology decisions outside the United States and by tracing exchanges about information technology between insurance managers in the United States and Germany. The article argues that Allianz managers, claiming that electronic information processing would reduce office operating costs, meticulously sought to document these savings to legitimate their computer acquisition in an otherwise adverse economic and political climate.

A History of Information in the United States since 1870
James W. Cortada

This article summarizes the findings of a book-length study of how Americans have used information since the 1700s, with a primary emphasis on the post-1870 period. The author argues that residents of North America were extensive users of information in their work and in their public and private lives. Reasons are offered for that dependence on information: high levels of literacy, economic prosperity, open political system, and considerable personal freedom to do as one wanted. The article describes findings on information use in the private sector, public sector, and in private life, including the American experience using the Internet.

Using Historical Methods to Explore the Contribution of Information Technology to Regional Development in New Zealand
Janet Toland and Pak Yoong

This article examines the role that information and communication technologies (ICTs) play in regional development and their relationship with factors such as regional learning, innovation, culture, and internal and external regional information networks. Historical methods are used to build up a picture of significant changes that have taken place within two contrasting regions of New Zealand between 1985 and 2005. The interdependent relationships between the development of hard ICT-based networks and regional social networks are explored.

The Octagonal Pavilion Library of Macao: A Study in Uniqueness
Jingzhen Xie and Laura Reilly

Privately owned by the Macao Chamber of Commerce, the Octagonal Pavilion Library was the first free Chinese library service as well as the most used Chinese public library in Macao from its establishment in 1948 until the late twentieth century. With a total surface area of 1,130 square feet, it is possibly the smallest library in the world. Despite its diminutive size, its educational and cultural impact on the community make it unique. Its relationship to “the foreign-Chinese divide,” to Ho Yin (Macao’s most important twentieth-century historical figure), and to other libraries in Macao are of particular interest. Its architecture, classification system (centered on the Three People’s Principles), and non-technical operations in the current technical environment also make it a meaningful library service case study.

Find the current issue on Project MUSE.

Purchase this issue at the University of Texas Press.

New Issue: The American Archivist

The Archival Profession: Looking Backward and Looking Forward
Gregory S. Hunter

ARTICLES

“As Vast as the Sea”: An Overview of Archives and the Archival Profession in Russia from the Time of Ivan the Terrible to World War I
Aleksandr Gelfand

“Filling the Gaps”: Oral Histories and Underdocumented Populations in The American Archivist, 1938–2011
Jessica Wagner Webster

How Soon Is Now? Writings on Digital Archiving in Canada from the 1980s to 2011
Greg Bak

Cultural Heritage and Preservation: Lessons from World War II and the Contemporary Conflict in the Middle East
Laila Hussein Moustafa

Perceptions and Understandings of Archives in the Digital Age
Caitlin Patterson

Teaching Data Creators How to Develop an OAIS-Compliant Digital Curation System: Colearning and Breakdowns in Support of Requirements Analysis
Lorraine L. Richards

From (Archival) Page to (Virtual) Stage: The Virtual Vaudeville Prototype
Tonia Sutherland

Linking Special Collections to Classrooms: A Curriculum-to-Collection Crosswalk
Sonia Yaco, Caroline Brown and Lee Konrad

Social Media and Crowdsourced Transcription of Historical Materials at the Smithsonian Institution: Methods for Strengthening Community Engagement and Its Tie to Transcription Output
Lesley Parilla and Meghan Ferriter

REVIEWS

Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research
Caryn Radick

The Evolving Scholarly Record and Stewardship of the Evolving Scholarly Record: From the Invisible Hand to Conscious Coordination
Jordon Steele

Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East
Christopher M. Laico

Archives in Libraries: What Librarians and Archivists Need to Know to Work Together
William J. Maher

Archives Alive: Expanding Engagement with Public Library Archives and Special Collections
Mary K. Mannix

Rights in the Digital Era
Jean Dryden

The American Archivist Editorial Policy

 

SAA Sampler Series Now Open Access

A few years ago, SAA’s Publications Board started creating samplers. These are introductions to topics and SAA publications, whether to read on your own or used in a classroom. Two recent announcements about these samplers: they are now all open access and there’s a new one on social justice.

SAA samplers online

Archival Advocacy: Archivists must continually explain who they are, what they do, and why archives are important to society. The selected chapters in this sampler offer different approaches and techniques from three books which align with the core goal of advocating for archives.

Law and Ethics: All archivists will face legal or ethical concerns throughout their careers. In many cases, we are caught unaware, and pressure is escalated by time crunches or demanding patrons. The chapter from the three books represented here aim to equip archivists to handle these sorts of dilemmas as they arise, by presenting practical information drawn from real-life experiences of archivists.

Social Justice: As repositories of the objects that make up the historical record, archives have the potential to shape and define our collective understanding of the past. The selected chapters in this sampler consider personal and collective memory as well as examples of political influence over the historical record.

New/Recent Publications

 

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture: Archives on Fire: Artifacts & Works, Communities & Fields

Archives and Creation: New Perspectives on Archives. This workbook reports on the work carried out during the third stage (2015-2016) of the project “Archives and creation: new perspectives on archival science.”

Teaching and Learning in Virtual Environments: Archives, Museums, and Libraries, by Patricia C. Franks, Lori A. Bell, and Rhonda B. Trueman.

A Matter of Life and Death: A Critical Examination of the Role of Official Records and Archives in Supporting the Agency of the Forcibly Displaced, by Anne J. Gilliland.

Framing Collaboration: Archives, IRs, and General Collections, by Amy Cooper Cary, Michelle Sweetser, Scott Mandernack, and Tara Baillargeon.

https://mla.hcommons.org/deposits/item/mla:1023/

Digital Heritage. Progress in Cultural Heritage: Documentation, Preservation, and Protection, 6th International Conference, EuroMed 2016, Nicosia, Cyprus, October 31 – November 5, 2016, Proceedings, Part II, Editors: Ioannides, M., Fink, E., Moropoulou, A., Hagedorn-Saupe, M., Fresa, A., Liestøl, G., Rajcic, V., Grussenmeyer, P.

Developing a Primary Source Lab Series: A Collaboration Between Special Collections and Subject Collections Librarians, Adam Rosenkranz, Gale Burrow, and Lisa L. Crane.

A Modern Look At The Banco De’ Medici: Governance And Accountability Systems In Europe’s First Bank Group, by Marco Fazzini, Luigi Fici, Alessandro Montrone, and Simone Terzani.

Archives, memory and colonial resistance in the work of the Portuguese filmmakers Margarida Cardoso and Filipa César, by Antonio Marcio Da Silva.

Sailing into Metrics: Rethinking and Implementing Metrics and Assessment in Archives, by Amy C. Schindler.

Practical Digital Curation Skills for Archivists in the 21st Century, presentation by Myeong Lee, Mary Kendig, Richard Marciano, and Greg Jansen.

Memory hole or right to delist? Implications of the right to be forgotten on web archiving, by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Andrés Guadamuz.

What are we talking about when we talk about sustainability of digital archives, repositories and libraries? by Kristin R. Eschenfelder, Kalpana Shankar, Rachel Williams, Allison Lanham, Dorothea Salo, and Mei Zhang.

Mapping the UK information workforce in the library, archives, records, information management, knowledge management and related professions, by Hazel Hall and Robert Raeside.

The retrieval of moving images at spanish film archives: the oversight of content analysis, by Rubén Domínguez-Delgado and María-Ángeles López Hernández.

The Case of the Awgwan: Considering Ethics of Digitization and Access for Archives,
Peterson Brink, Mary Ellen Ducey, and Elizabeth Lorang