On Friday, March 10th, SAASC enjoyed the chance to tour the world-class Huntington Library. Many thanks to Daniel Lewis at the Huntington Library for offering this amazing opportunity and serving as tour guide. Thanks to Debbie Faires for providing the connection and helping to make this happen! And a big Spartan cheer for iSchool student and SAASC member, Enid Ocegueda, who served as the tour coordinator and local liaison on behalf of SAASC. For those that were unable to attend, Enid was gracious enough to regale us with her account of the event. Enjoy!
I, along with fellow San Jose State University students, had the opportunity to take a tour of the Munger Research Center at the Huntington Library, located in San Marino, California. With Daniel Lewis, the Dibner Senior Curator of the History of Science, Medicine and Technology, as our tour guide, we embarked on a deeper understanding of what happens behind-the-scenes of one of the “largest and most complete libraries in the United States.” Personally, as an MLIS student, this tour was, in essence, a sort of reassurance of what I was most excited about in the field of archives: getting to work with, not only amazing historical material, but with amazingly (and sometimes intimidatingly) talented people.
At the start of the tour we had a quick discussion about the reading room and the various steps it takes for scholars to access material. In understanding how the library manages their holdings, we later proceeded our way down to the stacks area, where we came across the all-too-familiar archival boxes. What was a real treat to witness was the photo lab, which the library utilizes to take photographs of material for either publication purposes or research requests. What was even more interesting than the photo lab itself was something archivists don’t necessarily get to do very often in our line of work: conservation. Within the conservation lab we witnessed a really high-tech facility and further discussed the implications of conservation in archives.
All in all, I truly enjoyed this experience, as it was also an opportunity to connect with fellow classmates! We hardly ever get the opportunity to meet outside of our usual online setting, so it was a tremendous pleasure to meet a few of my classmates in person.