V. Chapman-Smith speaks at the Center’s inaugural “Archival Leaders Advocate” event

by Rachel C. Miller, Senior Project Archivist, Center for Jewish History

On November 11, 2011, the Archive and Library Services Department hosted the inaugural event of our new series, Archival Leaders Advocate: Annual Seminar at the Center for Jewish History. Our annual series will feature presentations by leading figures in the archives profession on timely issues relevant to both emerging and seasoned archives professionals. With this series, we at the Center aim to look beyond our own walls and make a regular contribution to the dialogue of the archives profession as a whole.

Kicking off our first year, V. Chapman-Smith, formerly the New York State Archivist (1996-2002) and currently the Regional Strategic Liaison in the Office of the Chief Operations Officer at the National Archives at Philadelphia, presented the talk, “Societal Trends and Archives Outreach: Constructing Roadmaps for Program Growth and Sustainability.”  

Ms. Chapman-Smith discussed approaches that archives can use to sustain relevance and grow increasingly vital over time, in spite of and in response to financial challenges or drops in patron use and program attendance. Through an examination of case studies, Ms. Chapman-Smith showed attendees some tested effective strategies that leverage societal trends to build new audiences and community purposes for archives. Among the projects she drew attention to were PhillyHistory.org, the Electronic Schoolhouse, the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Outreach Program, the Navajo Education Consortium, and National History Day Philadelphia.

Click here to view the slides from V. Chapman-Smith’s presentation.

About the speaker: Ms. Chapman-Smith has nearly 30 years of executive leadership experience in records administration, history public programming and organizational capacity building. During this time, she has received several leadership awards for her work, and she has earned a distinguished reputation for bringing fresh approaches and innovations to community engagement within the institutions she has led.

Video of the lecture now available. Click here.