My MARAC Experience
Here’s a little long over due, but written shortly after my attending of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference in Rochester NY write of my experience at my first conference:
I came the first day of registration, which was a Wednesday, and I wasn’t quite sure prior to this what I was going to do the rest of my day. Upon arriving I made it to my hotel and settled in (I was staying in the overflow conference hotel). Afterwards, I decided I wanted to see some of the city and where the Conference hotel was. I was in Rochester, NY and had never been there before. I first stumped upon a restaurant as part of another hotel and grabbed a bite to eat. Lesson learned here look up some restaurants ahead of time or in the guides that you receive. The restaurant was a bit of a miss and the prices were outrageous. I made it to the Conference hotel and registered. I also met a few people who friends of my roommate/co-worker. We had a nice dinner at a restaurant they had picked based on research and reviews of the area. It turned out to be pretty good. Way better than my lunch place.
The second day I had not signed up for any of the workshops or tours (the tours were booked when I registered) so I explored the area with my roommate. We had some recommendations and went to two museums. The museums were great. The first place we went was the George Eastman house, which is where the Conference Reception would take place, but we wanted to have a guided tour of the place, plus we weren’t sure if we would be allowed to go in the house at the reception. The house was amazing and very beautiful we also viewed the three galleries and made a stop at the gift shop! The next museum we went to was the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester it was also really great they had a Matisse exhibit that we saw advertised when we arrived in Rochester. After the museum we had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant that we found in our guide.
The next day was our busy day. We arrived to hear Kathleen Roe (former SAA president) give a preliminary speech. Afterwards the conference had four sessions per 3 groupings. The first session I attended was on lone arrangers. The past few jobs that I have applied to have been part time archivist positions in places that have never had an archivist before so I thought this would be a good session to partake in and I found it very informational. I stayed in all of my sessions the full time. We had a lunch break and then it was on to the next set of sessions. I picked another interesting session on arrangement, which was more of an open discussion and related to issues and understanding of arrangement. In between the last two sessions was a 15-minute break this allowed for us to see the vendor tables. I visited one of the vendors, but majority of the vendors were geared towards books, paper products, and digitizing. However my current job is with audio files and there were no vendors that applied to the type of archiving at my company. The last session I attended was about women in archives. I had picked the session, but I was unsure of what it was actually about. It turned out to be one of my favorites we talked about issues such as women not feeling that their materials are important, what defines important information for their archives, and my favorite topic of courting donors. One of the panelist mentioned that they had a standing tea appointment for three years with one donor before she would donate her materials.
After all the sessions were over it was time for the reception. We took shuttles and party buses to the George Eastman house and they we very accommodating. They did have the house open to us, but my co-worker and I were able to tell people interesting facts that we had learned during our tour to some of the other archivists. We also had the galleries and gift shop open to us. My co-worker and I lucked out because they had tours of the photos, film and archives available to us, so we were able to take a tour while other spent their time going through the house and galleries and other had to skip that part. The next day there was more session however due to my work schedule I was unable to attend the next day. Thankfully for twitter I was able to follow all the other session and the next days events from all of the tweeting archivist that we hash tagging the conference.