Do you have signs to share?

Were you a part of the Women’s March on Saturday?

Here’s what’s going on. As anybody who reads this probably already knows, we as an archives in an educational institution have an obligation not only to preserve materials, but to make them accessible, too. And it’s really important for students, for the public, for the community, that, as much as possible our holdings reflect the world around us as completely as possible.

But sometimes that’s hard because certain aspects of our society aren’t always well documented or not in ways that are easily accessible. And that’s often really true for events like the Women’s March on Saturday: the signs are considered ephemeral, the photographs assumed to be of interest to friends only. And so we can’t really count on them being saved and maybe being donated in 20 years or so, we have to look at taking them in a little more immediately. Plus, not all that is of interest to our researchers is long ago: not all of our researchers are historians. (But isn’t it nice to think in 10-20 years that there will be a solid body of documentation for this event available if the historians are interested?)

We want to be responsive to that. Do you have signs from the March? Do you have photographs of it? Are you willing to have us preserve and share them? Please contact us. If you’re here in Anchorage we might be able to pick them up, or we can arrange for you to bring them to us if you like. We are focusing on Alaska marches, particularly Anchorage, as you might expect but if you’re somewhere else in Alaska and would prefer they stay local, we’ll be happy to help you identify some local repositories that might be accepting these materials. For those of you outside of Alaska, we want to encourage you to consider donating to your local archives or museum or library that can assist with this effort.

As you might expect, there’s always paperwork. We ask that you donate the signs/photos/whatever to us but it’s really important to us that you retain the copyright to materials you created. So a lot of legalese in our deed is just that: you’re giving us ownership of the physical copy (signs or the pixels in the photo files) but you’re allowing us to make them accessible to all through our normal ways of providing access. That deed is here. If you have any questions about it, please let us know and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

And if you have another, different perspective on our society and want to make sure that your personal (or organization’s) documents are accessible to, do feel free to contact us. We not only have an obligation to try and reflect the world around us, we want to do that. We–and the researchers of tomorrow–thank you.

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