It has been almost a year since I last posted. Obviously a lot has happened in that time. Here’s a quick recap:
I worked at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum from September to December of 2015, where I was the Assistant Archivist. In addition to being in charge of the document collection, I wrote grants for upcoming programming, assisted with organizing and giving group tours, running the online gift shop, managing the museum’s social media, planning and staffing special events, and running the front desk. As a small museum, the position was one that required me to be a jack of all trades. It kept life interesting and kept me on my toes. Several of the grants I wrote have been successfully funded and used to start new programming at the museum since I left. Of that I am most proud.
I left the part-time position at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum when a full-time opportunity became available to me. I am now the Archivist with the Gary Player Group, Inc. in Greenville, South Carolina. My fiance and I moved in January and I began working full-time then. I am responsible for the Black Knight Archives which houses materials related to the Grand Slam golfer Gary Player, the company (Black Knight International/The Player Group), and Gary Player’s brother, Dr. Ian Player, a noted South African conservationist, credited with saving the White Rhino. I am part of the Media team, assisting with content development for the company’s newsletter, social media, and website. I write a monthly article for the company’s ENEWS about the Archives or some interesting materials I’ve come across and also contribute to a Tumblr account showcasing the Archives’ holdings.
Currently we are working especially hard on organizing and preserving the Ian Player Collection, moving it into archival storage boxes and cataloging completely. The collection contains many journals and diaries that Dr. Player kept for various purposes including daily diaries, field journals, and overseas journals. The collection also includes papers, reports, and files associated with the Natal Parks Board for which Dr. Player worked, various campaigns and initiatives to save wildlife including Operation Rhino and Campaign for St. Lucia, and other conservation projects. Also found in the collection are photographs and audio tapes, maps, and correspondence. I look forward to delving deeper into the collection.
Recently, thanks to the generous support of my company, I attended the Society of American Archivists conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This was my first archivists’ conference, with all of my previous professional conferences having been geared more broadly toward public historians or museum professionals. The conference included many sessions relevant to my work including those on sports archives, business archives, and dealing with incoming digital materials, of which we receive a great deal owing to Mr. Player’s continued popularity with the sports, luxury, and leisure media.
Moving forward, I aim to update this platform more often, but plan to shift the content from a simple reporting of my projects to more of a discussion of various topics relating to history, archives, museums, and related themes as I come across them either in my work or in the news, when I visit museums, or in literature of the field. I think these musings will help me to stay up on the current goings on in the field, which is more difficult now as an employed professional than when I was a student. And while I’m continuing to learn and gain more experience in my field, less of what I do each day is really a new skill and rather than report on my doing the same things each day, I’d rather use this platform to write more deeply about related issues. Hence, a name change for the blog: From ‘A Public Historian in the Making’ to ‘The Musings of an Archivist.’ Not that I’m not still a public historian in the making–I believe in life-long learning and always improving your skills and widening your horizons–I am now entering my second year of employment in the field after graduate school and think this blog should transition from a student’s showcasing of experiences and skills to a professional’s reflection on the work of our field.
Have topics you’d like to see me tackle? Send them my way! I love to write about anything related to history, museums, archives, public history, or related topics!