The Amistad Research Center is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a project that will seek to expand the diversity of the nation’s digital memory. In collaboration with the Shorefront Legacy Center, the South Asian American Digital Archive, Mukurtu, and the Inland Empire Memories Project of the University of California-Riverside, Amistad was awarded a National Leadership Grant for Libraries to host a series of meetings that will focus on integrating community archives in the National Digital Platform.
The four meetings, to be held in New Orleans, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in 2016 and 2017, will convene a diverse group of community archives curators and practitioners, community members, scholars, and digital collections leaders, to discuss broader inclusion of community archives materials in national digital collections. Outcomes of the project will include a summary white paper providing recommendations for increased representation of marginalized communities and people in our digital cultural heritage.
Many of the most valuable collections documenting the lives of marginalized people in the United States, reside in spaces outside traditional academic and government institutions. They exist throughout the country as independently curated, highly valuable sites for remembering, owned by the communities they document. Recent research in archival studies notes a growth in community-based archives. These archives are independent, grassroots alternatives to mainstream repositories through which communities make collective decisions about what is of enduring value to them, shape collective memory of their own pasts, and control the means through which stories about their past are constructed. Although community archives are thriving, they have so far been left out of national projects to bring more access to digital collections.
This National Leadership Grant awarded to Amistad and its partners is one of 40 grants announced by IMLS this week totaling $13,016,100. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.
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