Monday, November 24, 2008

Archive Madness

Ok, I don't mean to complain but seriously, I do not get some of this archive procedural crap! Two of my collections are pretty chill, they let me pull all sorts of things at a time, photograph them (no flash of course). But the State Archives are driving me a little batty. You can only pull one folder at a time (not one box, one folder!) and everything you pull has to be reviewed first and approved. And then when you leave at the end of the day, even if you are coming back, they don't hold your boxes for you. Nor do they even allow you to take your call slip with you, so you have to dig up what exactly it was that you pulled in the first place (I suppose smart people would be writing that down as they go, but we know I'm not that smart!) Uggh. Archives are such bizarre social experiments. I'm convinced they are also weather experiments. It is always about 30 degrees colder with a strong windchill factor in one of my archives...kinda reminds me of Michigan. I literally go in with a hat, mittens and a sweater.

The one good thing about the State archives (aside from the huge banyan trees outside the windows) is that sometimes (like today) you are literally researching in the midst of the history that you are studying. I walked out of the archives for lunch today and lucked upon a sovereignty rally within the same courtyard as the archives. I got to see rallying calls from most of the famous Hawaiian sovereignty activists whose books inspired me to study Hawaiian history in the first place! It was pretty fascinating.


kungfuramone said...

No one ever accused us of being *too* smart in choosing this vocation, dude. :P

Dolce Vita said...

Archivists are a strange lot. I think you might be on to something with the weather - the cold makes them that way. And yes, their methods are completely absurd. They create a lot of work for themselves pulling and reshelving boxes. I'm glad that you're finding good material amid such zaniness. And the rally sounded so cool. Who was there? Did you stay and listen? Did you join in?

Cabiria said...

Archives are definitely highly variable, and the rules at the state one sound especially weird. Cool rally though!