Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Preserving Visual Materials at the McKay Archives - Florida Southern College




In July I had the pleasure of attending the Society of American Archivists' two day workshop on Preservation and Identification of 20th Century Visual Materials. Not only was this a great workshop on a great topic, but it was also hosted by the impressive McKay Archives on the stunning campus of Florida Southern College.

The best part of the workshop was the instructor John Waggener's impressive teaching collection of photographs. It's so hard to tell, for example, if you're looking at an Albumen POP print or a Collodion POP print just by reading a description in a book. Having the opportunity to handle and compare all the different processes side by side was absolutely invaluable. We even had the opportunity to experiment with Impossible film- the Impossible Project's attempt to recreate Polaroid's lost formula for instant film.

The second best part of the workshop would have to be the people. We had an excellent crew with representation from Disney, The Ringling Museum, Stetson University, St. Petersburg College, the State Archives, several local libraries, and our gracious hosts at the Roux Library & McKay Archives. We even worked in a little tour of the McKay Archives led by Gerrianne Schaad, which included a processing area, gorgeous moveable shelving, and a small gallery.

The third best part of the trip was running around the Florida Southern campus and frolicking among all  of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. I'm pretty sure I entered some buildings that I was not technically supposed to be in, but the campus was all but abandoned and I did not find a single locked door. For more photos of the Archives tour and my adventure through the Florida Southern campus, enjoy the Facebook album here.

Pretty sure I'm not supposed to be here.