Meet the Archivist: Kelly

March 31, 2015

One of our goals on this blog is to pull back the curtain on the work we do in the University Archives. A lot of people wonder what an archivist does, so we thought we’d introduce ourselves and explain why we love our jobs! 

How long have you worked in the Norwich University Archives and what is your role? I joined the Norwich family in October of 2003. My first years here were spent building the archives program and ensuring we followed professional standards and best practices and developed sound policies to guide and govern our work here. Initially the staff was just me – now we are a staff of four and I act as Head of the University Archives.

Why are you an archivist? Because nothing thrills me more than creating order out of chaos. We have more than 1,700 boxes of records here in the archive – that requires a whole lot of organization! When I was a very little girl I would stick little masking tape spine labels on all my Little Golden Books. I still have those books! I’m lucky – working in this field was a true calling.

What is the best part of your job? Teaching –no question! I love to work with our students and our faculty to create just the right class to help students learn archival literacy skills: the terminology, organization and how to navigate our collections. It’s an awesome moment when a student works with a primary source, perhaps a letter written by a fellow student nearly 200 years ago, and connects via a common human experience (girls, mischief, etc.). Our students will smile in recognition and it lights up my life and reminds me why I do what I do.

What is your favorite part of the University Archives collections? This is like choosing your favorite child! My favorites tend to evolve as the collection grows or my work takes me deeper into various parts of it; however, this photograph has been a favorite of mine for at least ten years.

Surveyors working in a field near cows

To me, this image is a poignant summary of who we are (via the elegant military uniforms), where we are (our rural location – cows graze peacefully alongside the students), and what we do here, our instructional mission (students doing field work in surveying, which has been taught here at NU since the beginning).

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