Today being a stat holiday (and me being home enjoying the sunshine and fresh air) — means that we’re finished with all the big outreach events that have been going on this week.
Yesterday, nothing was planned except for tours, and we did indeed run those. Considerably more people turned up than had in the previous days. The main “what I learned” from yesterday thus was that scale is important, and that presenting the mini-exhibits to a group of 12 people is a lot harder than only 4 or 5 at once.
Haven’t got the official numbers yet, but it looks like there were close to 40 drop-ins yesterday, which is actually close to what I was expecting for the whole week. A few of those people also had their own particular research interests, that I was able to address. I know of at least 3 that are coming back next week to work. Another couple, based on what they read in the paper, brought in a family photograph and a story which augments one of the files we were discussing.
Part of me is thinking “this is what Archives is supposed to be” — at least, based on all available literature about outreach and engaging the public. This institution hasn’t had much opportunity to make that first step, in the past. There’s always a lot to do, of course, but for years and years it seems that getting control over the collections was the only priority.
I think that might be changing a bit. I’m glad to be involved in that.