Read more about the Leadership Alliance internship program here.
Before starting this program I did not know anything about Archives. I really was not sure what they were. An archive is an accumulation of historical records or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization’s lifetime, and are kept to show the function of that person or organization. Having the opportunity to go and visit other archives and museums have been a very rewarding experience. Each archive is different from one another. My favorite thing about archives are how they are able to access and keep records of the many historic things that have taken place in history. I find it fascinating to be able to see things from the past. When visiting the AUC Woodruff Archives I was very impressed with the size of their archive. It amazed me to see that every box had something in it, about someone, or something. Just about any history with Atlanta you’re likely to find something about it in the archive. It’s the same thing with Spelman’s archive. Any information about the school, a person who attended here, or something that took place at the school, nine times out of ten you will be able to find it in the archive. It truly is an awarding experience to have access to so many valuable records and collections.
Visiting the archives throughout Atlanta was an eye opener. I did not know anything about archives before coming to Atlanta. Learning everything that goes into caring for the items in the archives and what things go into certain archives helped me gain not only an understanding but, an appreciation for the archives and the people who work in them. Visiting the Spelman archives was an introduction to how archives work. I learned that there is a reading room for researchers, a room for processing material given, and the stacks where the material is stored. I learned that archives are kept cold and the material is kept in acid-free folders and boxes so that they can last as long as possible. I also learned that there are different types of archives. I have only visited academic archives, however there are corporate archives, community archives, and more. After being introduced to Spelman’s archives I went to the AUC Woodruff Archives. It operated exactly like the Spelman archives but was much bigger. The Woodruff archives was a little more personal to me because it had more things about African American history throughout the AUC and Atlanta. The last archive I visited was the Auburn Avenue Research Library. This archive has reading and listening rooms and bigger collections from African Americans throughout Atlanta. The Auburn Avenue Research Library Archives was more personal to me than history classes and even museums. It is a different feeling when you are able to hold your history in your hands and be face to face. Visiting these archives showed me the importance of keeping history and the importance of learning about my history.