NEA taking the past into the future



program description

As archivists, our professional responsibilities include being good stewards of historical materials to ensure they can be used by future generations of researchers. However, many of us have limited training and/or resources to address our preservation needs. The NEA Fall 2021 Virtual Meeting provides an opportunity for archivists to spend a day learning about preservation work from colleagues and professional conservators. We hope you will join us and will be inspired to Save (It) Yourselves!

We would like to thank the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) for graciously partnering with us when we initially planned an on-site event for the fall of 2020, and for working with us to provide virtual content this year.


Please note that a document containing the links to zoom sessions will be included in the registration confirmation email.

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

A dedicated zoom channel will be available throughout the meeting where attendees can socialize and network.

9:00 am - 10:00 pm

Virtual Workshop - Non-adhesive Attachment Techniques for Works on Paper and Photographs (limit 40 participants, separate registration required)

10:00 am - 10:15 am Break

10:15 am - 10:30 amWelcome and opening remarks

10:30 am - 11:30 am Session Block 1 - Getting Ready: Preparation, Preservation, and Empowerment

11:30 am - 11:45 am

11:45 am - 12:30 pm

Lunch on your own
Plenary Address by Christine McCarthy, director of the Yale Library’s Center for Preservation & Conservation

12:30 pm- 12:45 pm


12:45 am - 1:45 pm Session Block 2 - How to Tame Your Preservation Project: Institutional Experiences with Preservation Grants

1:45 pm - 2:00 pmBreak
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Session Block 3 - Entering the Third Dimension: Strategies for Preserving Non-Paper based Materials

3:00 pm - 3:15 pmBreak

3:15 pm - 4:00 pmVirtual Tour - Behind the scenes of the NEDCC including a live Q&A


Click here to register for the meeting!
Click here to register for the meeting + workshop!

In addition to the rates noted below, the New England Archivists Executive Board approved a “give back rate” as part of the Fall Meeting budget which will be an option when registering for the meeting. This allows our members to give back and help defray the cost offering discounted hardship rates to those in need.

 Early-bird rates
Meeting only
(August 23 - October 17)

Week-of rates
Meeting only
(October 18 - October 22) 
Early-bird rates
Meeting + webinar **
(August 23 - September 26) 
 Member $35.00$55.00$65.00 
 Student Member $17.50$28.75$32.50 
 Non-Member $65.00$85.00$110.00 
COVID-19 hardship rate*  $15.00$15.00     --- 

* In Summer 2021 the NEA Executive Board approved a special rate for the Fall 2021 Meeting for any attendee who self-identifies as experiencing financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This rate does not apply to virtual workshops.

** The virtual workshop is limited to 40 participants and registration closes three weeks in advance of the meeting in order to allow sufficient time for supplies to be sent to participants.

accessibility & CODE OF CONDUCT

New England Archivists is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for all of our events. For questions or concerns about accessibility, interpretive services, religious observance, or any other accommodations that would make the meeting more accessible for you, please contact NEA’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee at

All participants, including presenters or others involved in the meeting are required to abide by the NEA Code of Conduct, which can be found here:


Fall 2021 Meeting Social Channel
9:00 - 4:00

We all miss the opportunity to interact with colleagues provided by NEA annual meetings. The Fall 2021 Meeting will include a separate zoom channel where attendees can socialize and network at any time during the meeting.

Virtual Workshop | Non-Adhesive Attachments for Works on Paper
9:00 - 10:00

Damages caused by the improper attachment of works on paper are a common issue for paper based and photographic collections. This NEDCC workshop led by Annajean Hamel, Lead Preparator and Paper Conservation Technician at NEDCC, will explore non-adhesive methods to more safely secure works for matting and framing, storage and shipping. Participants will receive supplies needed to try out some of the techniques discussed including photo-corners, z-trays and strip hinges.

Welcome & Opening Remarks
10:15 - 10:30

Genna Duplisea, NEA President and Kathi Isham, Fall 2021 Program Committee Chair

Session Block 1 | Getting Ready: Preparation, Preservation, and Empowerment
10:30 - 11:30

Presenters will discuss proactive practices for both archivists and community members who work with historical materials—writing an action plan in case of disaster, creating an archival first-aid kit with preservation supplies, and implementing low-budget preservation options for community archives—each of which gives people the tools they need to save and share archival resources for the future.

Creating a Disaster Plan
Tina Panik, Reference and Adult Services Manager, Avon Free Public LIbrary (CT)

The Avon Free Public Library created a Disaster Plan for their history room collection, which will serve as a template for the creation of a library-wide disaster plan. All of this work was completed during Covid-19 and rounds out a series of Traveling Archivist grants that helped the Marian Hunter History Room at the Avon Library create a custody form, deed of gift, collection plan, and processing manual.

Self-Care in the the Archives: Creating an Archival First-Aid Kit
Katy Sternberger, Research Librarian, Portsmouth Athenaeum (NH)

Just as every archives should have a disaster plan, complete with a salvage kit, every archivist should have an “archival first-aid kit,” a personal toolbox to keep work supplies accessible. In the same way that you protect collections through preservation management, the creation of your own archival first-aid kit is an act of self-care that supports your work efforts in a proactive and productive way. This presentation describes how to create your own archival first-aid kit.

Better-Than-Nothing Practices for Community Archives
Angela DiVeglia (she/her), Research and Outreach Librarian for Special Collections, Providence Public Library (RI)

Providence Public Library offers free archival consulting and support for organizations, activists, and artists with community-based archives, whether they want to organize materials in a current storage area, create a preservation plan as part of larger reflections on organizational legacy, or find the right repository to house their collections in the future. Knowing that these practitioners often have very limited budgets, we encourage what we call “Better-Than-Nothing Practices,” which are simple, affordable alternatives to true archival best practices that still protect and preserve materials for the future. This presentation will discuss better-than-nothing preservation practices and how they can empower people as they capture, save, control, and share their own stories.

Lunchtime Plenary Address with Christine McCarthy
11:45 - 12:30

Christine McCarthy, Director of the Yale Library’s Center for Preservation & Conservation (she/her)

Christine McCarthy is the director of the Center for Preservation and Conservation at the Yale University Library. Christine’s career has been dedicated to academic research library collections. She began her work at the Brandeis University Libraries and has worked as a conservator at the University of Maryland Libraries at College Park, MIT, and the University of Chicago. She earned her Master of Library and Information Science and an Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in illustration and graphic design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Christine joined the Yale Library as its chief conservator in 2008 and in 2016 managed the design and building of the Stephen F. Gates '68 Conservation Laboratory, a new 8000 sq. ft state-of-the-art facility. She was appointed director in 2018 to oversee the Center’s program, which includes preventative conservation, conservation treatment and housing, print and audio-visual reformatting, digital photography, exhibitions planning and preparation, and digital preservation. Christine actively promotes preservation and conservation expertise in service of teaching and learning at Yale, and she gives public lectures on preserving personal collections and family treasures.

Session Block 2 | How to Tame Your Preservation Project: Institutional Experiences with Preservation Grants
12:45 - 1:45

Preserving collections can be expensive and applying for grants to do so can be intimidating. Presenters will discuss their experiences identifying and applying to a variety of preservation grants including the CLIR Recordings at Risk grant, NEH challenge and LOC digitization grants, and a Mellon Foundation Community Archives grant. Topics covered will include project management, assessing collections, and defining project scope, as well as anecdotal discussions of the grant writing process.

Preserving the History and Legacy of UConn's Black Experience in the Arts Course
Rebecca Parmer (she/her), Head of Archives & Special Collections, University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut Library seeks funding for a one-year project to digitize, preserve, and improve access to 243 sound recordings created from a groundbreaking course, “Black Experience in the Arts,” between 1970 and 1990. This course brought Black artists, musicians, actors, writers, and others to UConn to discuss and demonstrate their work, and to participate in conversation. Developed by music faculty Edward O’Connor and Hale Smith and the Center for Black Studies, this course sought to draw awareness to the creativity and contributions of Black artists in all art forms and provide students with greater exposure to the racial and social dynamics in American culture. Digitizing these recordings will preserve and make available these artists’ unique, personal insights, providing a vital resource for those seeking to understand how the creative expression of Black artists was impacted by historical, social, cultural, political, and aesthetic contexts.

Preserving the Voices of American Jews
Chris Spraker (he/him), Archivist, Temple Israel Boston

This year-long project aims to preserve, digitize, and make accessible 279 individual recordings on 193 physical audio carriers in the Temple Israel Archives. Many of these recordings of sermons, services, lectures, and community events, dating from 1934 to 1979, survive in no other format at Temple Israel or other repositories. They feature eminent Temple Israel rabbis Harry Levi (1911-1939), Joshua Loth Liebman (1939-1948), and Roland B. Gittelsohn (1959-1977); congregants; and other Jewish and non-Jewish religious leaders. After they have been reformatted, free public access will be provided through the Digital Commonwealth and Digital Public Library of America. Preserving the voices and words of these distinguished rabbis, their congregants, the Reform Jewish community, and others will recover and uncover important new material that will add depth and a sensory dimension to scholars’ understanding of their world and the history of American Reform Judaism over several decades.

Visions of Activism: Oral History, Digitization, Exhibits & Outreach
Elvis Bakaitis (they/them), Coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives and Interim Head of Reference at the CUNY Graduate Center Library

The Lesbian Herstory Archives was awarded a $90,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This has been an extremely ambitious endeavor with much hard work on the part of our all-volunteer collective: indeed, it is the largest grant ever received by our organization. We have already begun robust projects for the planned two-year grant cycle. We are especially inspired to remain strong during this period of pandemic-related closures. Funds will continue our digitization projects, develop an elders’ oral history project, and rethink and expand our traveling exhibitions.

Historical Newspaper Digitization Project
Jordan Goffin (he/him), Head Curator of Collections, Providence Public Library Rhode Island

With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ National Digital Newspaper Program, Providence Public Library (PPL), in partnership with the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS), will complete an extensive newspaper digitization project that will result in a wealth of Rhode Island’s historical newspapers being digitized and widely available through the Library of Congress for the first time in history. RIHS currently holds master negative microfilm of 314 newspaper titles that ceased prior to 1923. As a result of this project, at least 100,000 pages will be digitized.

A Race Against Time; GBH's NEH Challenge Grant to Preserve and Digitize At-Risk Media
Samantha Driscoll (she/her), Media Archivist, GBH National Public Radio

In 2018, GBH received a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to preserve and digitize the most at-risk items in the GBH archival collection, specifically 83,000 media resources. This effort will preserve the archive we have built and ensure that future media assets are properly preserved as they are created. With limited staff and resources, and amidst a global pandemic, GBH has successfully managed time and labor on shipments of audiovisual materials to our contracted digitization vendor, updated collection records, and has improved accessibility of materials to GBH, researchers, scholars, and “viewers like you.” We will discuss our processes, strategies, and reflections on the project as it approaches its halfway point.

Session Block 3 | Entering the Third Dimension: Strategies for Preserving Non-Paper based Materials
2:00 - 3:00

Preserving realia in archives, or even the building that houses them, can be challenging and stressful. Three presentations will discuss the challenges of storing and preserving a variety of objects and share their creative solutions and tips. The final presentation will discuss preserving the building itself—in particular the historic windows—how they sought out funding, and how they currently maintain their preserved historic windows.

Foam Parties and Sharp Objects: Preserving Medical Instruments on a Budget
Vanessa Formato (she/her), Archivist, Mass Eye and Ear

The Abraham Pollen Archives of Mass Eye and Ear is on a journey to better preserve and provide access to its large and diverse collection of 19th to 20th century medical instruments, all on a shoestring budget. This talk will discuss simple, affordable solutions for caring for the metals and miscellany in your collection.

Thinking Outside the Box: A Case Study of Preserving the Guiney Family Papers on a Budget
Abigail Stambach (she/her), Head of Archives & Distinctive Collections, College of the Holy Cross
Corinne Gabriele, Archives Assistant, College of the Holy Cross

The Archives & Distinctive Collections of the College of the Holy Cross has a large collection of three-dimensional objects, which can be challenging to store and preserve. This presentation will examine the low-cost and creative solutions used to develop a custom storage plan for the objects within the Guiney Family Papers.

Preserving Mixed Materials from the Sea
Brett Freiburger (he/him), Institution Archivist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution @MBLWHOILibrary

This talk will discuss collections care for a variety of objects produced and collected by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Since 1930, WHOI has been at the forefront of documenting science at sea and adapting new technologies to allow greater data collection. The Institution Archive holds paper records, engineering schematics and designs, audio/visual documentation in film, tape, and digital mediums, and samples from biological and geological research.

Preservation of Historic Windows
Dana Hart, Director, Ilsley Public Library

It is not just collections that require preservation! Hart will discuss how the Ilsley Public Library sought out expertise and grant funding from public and private partners to successfully maintain and repair the windows in our historic 1924 building.

NEDCC Virtual Tour
3:15 - 4:00

Join us for a virtual behind the scenes tour of NEDCC workspaces followed by a live Q&A with a conservator.


The Inclusion and Diversity Committee encourages all attendees to take care of themselves and try to carve out moments for rest and respite during the fall meeting.

Virtual conferences can be just as overwhelming as in-person events. Most of us are probably familiar with Zoom fatigue, the stress and burnout associated with sitting in Zoom meetings for hours on end. In addition, many of us are expected to multitask during virtual events, juggling regular work duties with home and family responsibilities all while trying to engage with the conference activities. What’s more, it can be more difficult to meet our physical and emotional needs during virtual events, when meals are not provided for us and opportunities to get up, move between sessions, and even get some fresh air or a few quiet moments are few and far between.

  • Here are some things that might be helpful during virtual conferences:
  • Taking screen breaks whenever possible.
  • Using blue light filter software or blue light blocking glasses to reduce eye strain from long stretches of screen time.
  • Stretching or going for a walk during breaks.
  • Getting fresh air whenever possible, even if it’s just opening a window.
  • Having plenty of water and snacks on hand.
  • Having fun, soothing activities ready for breaks or multitasking, anything from coloring books to knitting.
  • Being flexible and gentle with ourselves. Recognizing that it’s okay to end the day a little earlier than planned; it’s okay if our attention drifts; it’s okay if our best falls short of our expectations for ourselves.


Kathi Isham, chair
Thomas Lester
Elizabeth Wilkinson
Thera Webb

   Contact Us  Donate to NEA  Policies  
  Facebook icon Twitter icon Linked-in icon Vimeo icon Pinterest icon  

© New England Archivists. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software