American Archives Month Celebration: a Duet of Family Archives Workshops

Your great-grandmother’s wedding portrait.  Your grandfather’s first-grade report card.  Your great-uncle’s war journal.  Your grandmother’s scrapbook.  Your first home movie.  All of these treasured family items are pieces of your family’s mosaic.  Built piece by piece, year after year, these family treasures capture glimpses into who we are and those who came before us.

Daschbach Family, Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation Collection Photographs, MSP33.
Just one of the many family photographs that exists in the Detre Library & Archives collection.

As a celebration of American Archives Month, the staff of the Thomas and Katherine Detre Library & Archives is excited to offer a pair of workshops, centered on personal family archives.

American Archives Month is a time when archivists across the country make concerted efforts to raise awareness of the archival mission and its value to society.  At its core, our professional mission is to collect, preserve, arrange and describe materials of enduring research value so that they may be made accessible to the public.  With this year’s theme of “Archives and Lifelong Learning” in mind, the Detre Library & Archives staff has developed two workshops open to the public on caring for and organizing your family papers and photographs, and telling your family’s story.

Love letter from Pvt. Vincent Sirianni to his future wife, Mary Menniti.
Vincent Sirianni Papers and Photographs, MSS 610

In the first of these workshops, Preserving Your Past: Creating a Personal Family Archives, workshop participants will discover how to begin organizing and preserving the materials in their personal family collections.  Drawing upon the knowledge that the Detre Library & Archives staff uses to care for the History Center’s archival collections, the workshop director will share easy-to-implement, step-by-step measures on how to better care for your family treasures.  It is our hope that workshop participants will be inspired to embark on the rewarding journey of caring for a personal family archives!  The workshop will be offered October 27, 2012 from 10am-12pm.

The second workshop, Digital Storytelling: Your Family History in Words and Pixels, workshop participants will delve into the art of storytelling using both words and images. Throughout the course of the workshop, participants will learn how to best construct a family story.  Furthermore, participants will also discover how to deploy memory triggers in order to resurrect pieces of their family’s story. One crucial trigger is the family photograph.  Participants are invited to bring their own photos for the hands-on scanning session in order to learn how to integrate them into their family stories.  This workshop will also be offered October 27, 2012 from 1pm-4pm.

H. J. Heinz and grandchildren, H. J. Heinz Company Photographs, MSP 57.


Admission to each workshop is $20 for individuals and free for members.  This rate includes admittance to all History Center exhibits, including Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Please RSVP at or 412-454-6364.

For more information, please contact Sierra Green at

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