Simmons Interns In The Archives

January 20, 2016

Lilac Sunday collection

Simmons Interns In The Archives

Lilac Sunday archive

Lilac Sunday collection, Arnold Arboretum Archives. Photograph by Stephanie Turnbull.

For many years, the library has been very lucky to have a number of Simmons students from the School of Library and Information Sciences come intern with us. Students are placed at the Arboretum through their introductory archive classes, where they must finish a number of hours to receive course credit. Multiple projects have been completed and the work these students have done has been incredibly helpful for the librarians, since we are constantly dealing with new additions in the archives.

Our archives are always growing and expanding. While we have a number of historical collections that are (for the most part) complete, we also have a number of collections that are constantly being updated with new material or new collections being created. The archive holds onto many institutional records which means that on a daily basis we are getting items that have to do with the day to day events at Arboretum from the last few years, months of even weeks. With a critical eye, we go through these materials to not only decide what we should keep for historical value but also to decide if they need to be sorted into existing or new collections.

With a small staff, this often means boxes of materials start to pile up and we end up dealing with a common problem within archives: backlog. For this reason, we are grateful for our interns who often arrive with no archival experience and, depending on the project, often leave with an organized collection, in new acid free folders or boxes, and a complete finding aid up to archival standards. Without their help, these collections could end up sitting on shelves unprocessed for quite some time.

Many of these collections’ finding aids are now available online including Children’s Education Programs – Field Study Experiences [pdf], Planting Lists [pdf], and Intern and Apprentice Records [pdf]. Interns have also helped update many of our ongoing collections including the Arboretum’s important Lilac Sunday collection [pdf].

To see all of the Library’s archival collections, check out our main Archives page and for information regarding collections that are not online, you can always contact the library at hortlib@arnarb.harvard.edu.

Stephanie Turnbull, Library Assistant

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