Image courtesy of Pennsylvania State Archives

Monday, November 22, 2010

Your opinion counts - please complete the MARAC surveys

Now that everyone is all settled back at work and Harrisburg is just a happy memory, the Program and Local Arrangements committees need just one thing from all of the conference attendees: please complete the MARAC surveys! If you attended, you should have received a link to both surveys in your e-mail. If you did not receive these links, you can find them now on the MARAC homepage:

Both the surveys (one for Program, one for Local Arrangements) are very short and should not take more than 5 minutes to complete. The feedback that we receive helps us shape our final reports and may influence the future MARAC meetings. Was there something that you thought was executed particularly well (or particularly badly) - please let us know! The planning committees, along with the Meetings Coordinating Committee, review these reports when putting together future meetings.

If you would like to send additional comments, you may always contact a member of the Meetings Coordinating, Program, or Local Arrangements committees. The current roster of MCC members is available on the committee website.

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Derangement and Description's 2nd anniversary!

In two very short days, carloads of archivists will begin arriving in Harrisburg for this fall's MARAC. Not only is Thursday Nov 11 the first day of MARAC, but it's also the 2nd anniversary of Derangement and Description! We're celebrating at Stocks on 2nd, just down the street from the Hilton. There will be laughs, there will be comical memories, and there will be at least two fun archivists (hi Rebecca!). Please stop by around 7pmish to whenever.

Derangement and Description:
Stocks on Second:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bed bugs??

Good news - the Harrisburg Hilton has zero reported incidents of bed bugs according to the Bed Bug Registry. Phew!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where are you going to eat?

My former boss would always ask "What'd you eat?" when I came back from any conference. Everyone loves food and at conferences you want to find a great place to eat and enjoy good company. I recommend that you check out Midtown Eats . The website has information on lots of the restaurants downtown.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra

Some of you may be staying over Saturday night? The symphony has a concert Saturday night and Sunday afternoon with Sharon Isbin. Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, Grammy Award winner Sharon Isbin has been hailed as one of the leading classical guitarists of our time. She joins the HSO for a performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

MARAC in Harrisburg, 1985 + 2010

When Cindy emailed me the program from the 1985 Harrisburg MARAC, "Saving the Record," I knew it was something that I wanted to share on our not-yet-created blog. It's interesting to see the session topics that have endured and how others have evolved. Take a look:

Click on an image to view a larger version

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Irony!!

It's been almost 25 years since MARAC has been held in Harrisburg. The State Archives has been waiting on renovation plans for six years, and of course, during the Fall MARAC meeting, they finally will occur! But don't let that discourage you from taking the T7 tour of the State Archives/Capitol Guided Tour on Saturday. Some of you may have remembered the "Archives Under Construction" MARAC meeting held at State College, PA. This is reminiscent!

News for Immediate Release

Oct. 13, 2010

Pennsylvania State Archives to Close for Four-Month Renovation Project

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) announced today that the State Archives of Pennsylvania will close from Oct. 18 through Feb. 3, 2011, for needed renovations.

While Oct. 16 is the final day researchers can visit the facility at Third and Forster streets in Harrisburg, staff will continue to respond to telephone, e-mail, and postal inquiries during the renovations.

Barbara Franco, PHMC executive director, said the $250,000 project will expand and modernize the existing lobby and public research areas. A larger vestibule is required to facilitate access for people with disabilities and will include automatic doors. The work will provide more space for the increasing number of researchers, as well as new wiring and additional computers to improve access to the collections. Security systems will also be upgraded.

While the renovations will extend the life of the building, plans are still in process to replace the 50-year-old facility that is nearing its capacity. Water leaks exist. The facility lacks adequate environmental controls or fire suppression systems to protect its more than two hundred million pages of one-of-a-kind records, including the Charter from King Charles II to William Penn creating the colony of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission operates the State Archives. Visit the archives online at PHMC’s website,, and choose the State Archives link. For further information about the closure or to make research inquiries, call 717-783-3281.

Media contact: Kirk Wilson, 717-783-9882


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anita Diamant

For those arriving Thursday night, Anita Diamant, author of the Red Tent will be speaking at Temple Ohev Shalom in Harrisburg. There is a cost. Information can be found at:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Looking for a roommate?

Are you looking for someone to split your hotel room (and hotel room costs) with in Harrisburg? Please feel free to comment here with requests or offers. I'm borrowing NewArchivist's helpful tips:

Some useful info to add in your comment might be:

  • The dates you will be attending the conference

  • The hotel you have reserved or prefer to stay at (conference hotel, other area place, etc.)

  • Anything general you think is important for others to know (you prefer a female or male roommate, non smoker, early riser, you have a tendency to suffer from night terrors, etc.)

  • If you add your email address to the comment form you will be contacted if someone responds.

    You may also wish to add yourself to the Crash Space for Archivists listing.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Place to go--Midtown Scholar Bookstore

    I'm glad to say that as of October 1st, over 200 archivists will descend upon Harrisburg in November. I'm truly pleased to be able to tell my colleagues of some of the highlights of Pennsylvania's capital city.

    When I first moved her 16 years ago, I was told "Oh, you'll love it here. You are only three hours from NYC, 2 hours from Philly and Washington, D.C. and one and a half hours from Baltimore." In other words, you can get out quickly! Nowadays, Harrisburg offers more in the cultural and culinary worlds and people are less apt to flee on weekends to the major surrounding cities.

    My favorite new spot is the Midtown Scholar. Their website states that they are "... the nation's largest academic used bookstores with more than one million second-hand and out-of-print scholarly books in all fields, stocked in our Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, internet warehouses." It is a fun place to browse books, listen to open mike night, or as I like to do, join friends for game night. Located about a mile from the Hilton where MARAC will be held, it is pretty accessible by foot or car.

    Friday Luncheon Speaker-Jackson Taylor

    Driving in to work today, I was listening to the local NPR station, WITF. The local segment called "the creative zone" featured the Nov. 12 luncheon speaker Jackson Taylor. Taylor has written a based-on reallife story of his grandmother, Verna Krone. Taylor has taken his grandmother’s life in rural Perry county and Harrisburg during the 1920s through the 1950s and created a captivating story of Harrisburg history. The story covers racial and gender issues, as well as social and political concerns of the day. It is a captivating read, and copies will be available for purchase at MARAC.
    Atttached is the link to Taylor's interview. The book is WITF/Borders bookstore pick of the month for October.

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Friday's Reception at the Pennsylvania State Capitol

    The attendee reception at this fall's MARAC meeting will be held in the stunning Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol. This extensively preserved space is full of history and drama, the perfect meeting space for a few hundred archivists and archival professionals. Tours of the Capitol will be available during the reception, but if you can't wait then you can view a spactacular 360 degree tour of the space on the Capitol's website.

    The Local Arrangements Committee has also arranged a "Taste of Pennsylvania," highlighting foods from the many cultures and regions of PA, including samples from local breweries!

    From the conference program:
    Join us in the Rotunda of the historic Pennsylvania State Capitol for the MARAC member reception. Guests will enjoy “Tastes of Pennsylvania,” foods reflecting the various cultures and traditions of the Keystone State. Tours of some of the more impressive areas of the Capitol will be offered during the reception. Built in 1906, President Roosevelt described it as “the handsomest building I ever saw.” Come and relax with your colleagues and learn the architectural history of this grand building. The State Capitol is located on Third Street. From the hotel, turn right on Second Street and walk four blocks to Pine Street. Turn right, and walk two blocks to Third Street. Walking is suggested, however a shuttle will also be available.

    Developing Effective Grant Applications to Get the Money Still Out There!

    Based on the success of past resume and interview clinics, this year's program committee is offering a grant clinic. Coordinated by James Tammaro, a Regional Advisory Officer for the New York State Archives, this grant clinic will allow precious one-on-one time with people from granting agencies or fellow archivists that have experience submitting successful grant applications. Whether you have an application that you would like some comments on or if you just have an idea that you want to run by someone who has been there before, our participants will be available for your assistance. Scheduled from 2:15 to 5:30 on Friday November 12th, you'll find the grant clinic stationed in the Exhibit Hall (Lancaster room)

    Alex Lorch, National Historical Publications and Records Commission
    Maria Holden, New york State Archives
    Ann Marie Przybyla, New York State Archives

    James M. Tammaro, New York State Archives

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Social media + conferences

    With the promise of wifi throughout the hotel brings the challenge of serving all of the MARAC attendees social media needs! What services do you plan to use at MARAC - and more importantly, on which services do expect to see a presence by MARAC while you're at the conference? We don't need to be everywhere you are but if you're looking for us then we'd like to know about it.

    I've created a poll, located to your right in the toolbar, where you can select the tools that you think you'll likely use or where you think our established presence would be helpful.

    Here are a few tools that are already being used:

    Google Calendar for MARAC events
    This doesn't look like much unless you go to Nov 11-13, but there I've added all the workshops, tours, sessions, and other exciting events. We'll be adding more as they come along, including any unofficial meet-ups that are sent our way. To subscribe and add this public calendar to your own Google Calendar, select the icon in the lower right corner. Inspired by Mark Matienzo's SAA 2010 Google Calendar.

    Stay tuned to the newly created MARAC Twitter account, @MARACtweets. You can also contribute to the conversation using the hashtag #marac.

    Facebook Event page
    You don't have to RSVP here, but why not? Could also be used as a space to share restaurant suggestions, swap related articles, and point to conference summaries. Looks like you need to be logged in to view the Event page.

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    View the conference program online now!

    The final conference program has been posted to the MARAC Conferences webpage. In the program you will find all the information about the conference including the speakers, sessions, workshops, tours, and hotel and registration costs and information.

    If you have additional questions, please feel encouraged to comment here or contact the PC or LAC co-chairs using the contact information listed on the MARAC Conference webpage.

    Preserving the American Historical Records (PAHR)

    The Plenary speaker at MARAC this fall will be Kathleen Roe, Director of Archives and Records Management Operations at the New York State Archives. One major compenent of her presentation will be the Preserving the American Historical Records (PAHR) legislation, which is currently under debate in Congress. If you would like to learn more about PAHR, including how to contact your Congressional representative and encourage their support for the bill, a good place to start is the webpage hosted by SAA:

    Here you'll find an overview and current status of the bill, sample letters of support, how to contact your representative, and the listing of current supporters. The Plenary session with Kathleen Roe will take place on Friday, November 12th at 9am in the Carlise room. We hope to see you there!

    Strangers in a Strange Land: Archives and Politics
    Archivists document politics. Archivists observe politics. Archivists talk and argue about politics. Yet rarely do archivists become involved in politics on behalf of archives. Kathleen Roe, Director of Archives and Records Management Operations, New York State Archives, will deliver our plenary and discuss professional involvement with politics initiated recently on the federal level as we advocate for NHPRC, for Preserving the American Historical Record (PAHR), as well as a range of issues at the state level throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. What role should this play in the life of individual archivists, institutions, and our professional organizations? What have we learned so far about what we can really accomplish in political settings? As archives and archivists become further involved in politics and advocacy, we need to focus on becoming both comfortable and conversant in this strange land so we can better ensure the health of our organizations and profession.

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Restaurant Review-Neato Burrito on 2nd St.

    It may be July, but there's never a bad time to start a reviewing the local fare in downtown Harrisburg. I asked my 12 year old son to help me review Neato Burrito, not too far from the Hilton. He got a chicken burrito with cheese, vegetarian refried beans, chili, and lettuce.

    12 year old- I'll come right out and say it, the food isn't the best I've ever had but, overall the experience is good. It's style was unique and also the restroom was the probably the most unique I've seen. Although the restroom was small it's still unique. The food was surprisingly bland but it makes up for it in quantity, it was not a good place if you just want a snack. The style of the whole restaurant is seemingly a bomb shelter mixed with the 70s. The tables are metal, the booths can sit a group of 4, you can also eat outside. The service was relatively fast, with you only having to tell them what you want on your burrito. The cost was also relatively low being at 28$ for 4 large burritos (note: the burritos come in one size) and 2 large sodas.( My rating 9/10)So if you want a family friendly restaurant, that's relatively cheap, and gives you lots of food(and leftovers), but don't care much on how it tastes then head to Neato Burrito.

    (Note: I love Neato Burrito and like to go there for lunch. The bathrooms are great, cut outs of ads from 1950 through 1970s are pasted on the wall. The men's room has a car motif.)

    Thursday, July 1, 2010


    Welcome to the blog and online meeting space for the Fall 2010 MARAC meeting. In this space we'll be posting information about our presenters, speakers, workshops, and tours as well as helpful information about the general Harrisburg area. Please watch this space for additional content in the future! Information on MARAC conferences is located on the MARAC website.

    Theme: The Politics of Archives
    When: November 11-13, 2010
    Where: Harrisburg, PA
    Hotel: Harrisburg Hilton, Downtown Harrisburg
    Room rate: $119
    Local Arrangements Committee: Co-Chairs Jesse Teitelbaum (Pennsylvania House of Representatives) and Pam Whitenack (Hershey Community Archives)
    Program Committee: Co-Chairs Cindy Bendroth (Div. of Records Administration, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission) and Lindsey Loeper (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)