UMass Boston archivist discusses Mass. Memories Road Show at Society of American Archivists annual meeting

UMass Boston archivist Jessica Holden (center) with (from left to right) Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Anne Morgan, Kelsey Duinkerken, and Caitlin Brennecke.

UMass Boston archivist Jessica Holden (center) with (from left to right) Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Anne Morgan, Kelsey Duinkerken, and Caitlin Brennecke.

Last week, Jessica Holden, the reference archivist in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston, headed to Cleveland, Ohio, for the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA). On Friday of this year’s conference, Jessica was a co-presenter in a session focused on nontraditional outreach methods used by archives and museums and “how archivists and museum curators can forge connections with a wide variety of communities and grow our profession via new and creative approaches to outreach programs.” See the full listing in the online conference schedule here.

In her presentation – titled “Forging Connections and Building Collections: The Mass. Memories Road Show at UMass Boston” – Jessica discussed the Healey Library’s successful statewide digital history project, the Mass. Memories Road Show, and described aspects of the project that are of unique interest to archivists and museum professionals. In particular, Jessica described how the project brings archival resources out into communities (rather than expecting communities to come to an archives) and how this outreach model helps us reach new audiences and establish richer partnerships within those communities.

In addition to Jessica, other presenters in this session were Caitlin Brennecke from Troy Historic Village, Caitlin Christian-Lamb from Davidson College, Kelsey Duinkerken from Thomas Jefferson University, and Anne Morgan from the Imperial Valley Desert Museum. The session was moderated by Michelle Ganz from Lincoln Memorial University.

View Jessica Holden’s presentation here.

The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide digital history project that documents people, places and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. In partnership with teams of local volunteers, we organize public events to scan family and community photographs and videotape “the stories behind the photos.” The images and videos are indexed and incorporated into an online educational database. Since its launch, the project has gathered more than 8,000 photographs and stories from across the state. It is supported in part by the Patricia C. Flaherty ’81 Endowed Fund at UMass Boston.  

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston was established in 1981 as a repository to collect archival material in subject areas of interest to the university, as well as the records of the university itself. The mission and history of UMass Boston guide the collection policies of University Archives & Special Collections, with the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service reflected in the records of and related to urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, war and social consequence, and local history related to neighboring communities. To learn more, visit

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