Transforming Museums Through Archives

  • Janice Unger (The Henry Ford)
  • Jennifer Clark (Gateway Arch National Park)


More museums are developing their archives, or opening them to the public, for the first time, and,as this trend continues, the unique role of being an archives within a museum expands. With that,new challenges and opportunities arise, making way for collaboration, creativity, and innovation. This standard presentation session will delve into some of these obstacles and outcomes, looking at how museum collections and cataloging policies can affect archives policies, and vice versa; how a founder’s legacy can guide and overshadow work done in the archives, and ways to work with, and around,that legacy; and how the creation of new exhibits can lead to innovative thinking in regard to the use of archival materials, while considering the preservation needs of the documents. In looking at how archives work within and with museums, professionals at all institutions can gain insight into creating partnerships with different underlying philosophies; working with and against an institution’s legacy to more accurately reflect history and alter misconceptions; and working creatively to develop exhibits that engage visitors while protecting original documents. The unique position of being an archives within a museum provides a possibility to transform how both units operate, and, in the end, create more opportunities for engagement, outreach, and collaboration for the archives and the museum.

How to Cite:

Unger, J. & Clark, J., (2019) “Transforming Museums Through Archives”, MAC Annual Meeting Presentations 2019(1).

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Published on
06 Apr 2019