Fun With Archival Theory

Scholarly Articles by Natalie ParkerI’m knee deep in readings for a summer class (learning even more about archives).  I’m always amused when I find bits of reading that are really applicable to scrapbooking.  Or is it that I have memory keeping on the brain all the time?

Here are some bits from my readings.  They relate to archival theory, but I think you will find them very pertinent:

… biography can only be captured — brought alive in the present — through placing its ‘single subject’ in relationship to other people.  (McKemmish, 2005 – paraphrasing biographer Richard Holmes)

What do I take from that?  Context matters.  The author was making an argument that records “live” and constantly take on more value as new records are placed with them.  The more context, the richer a record is.  You will always see me arguing for more context in scrapbooks.

Human beings are the sum of their memories.  The nature of their interaction with other humans, indeed their very identity, is determined by their memories. (Cunningham, 2005)

We tell stories for ourselves — to help keep us alive. (McKemmish, 2005 – quoting Thomas King)

I thought these bits were interesting because I always wonder sometimes why I’m compelled to scrapbook.  The truth is that we all keep memories in some form or another as part of the human experience.  I just choose to use this method.

Sources:

Adrian Cunningham, “Archival Institutions,´in Sue McKemmish, Michael Piggott, Barbara Reed, and Frank Upward. Archives: Recordkeeping in Society. Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.: Charles Sturt University, 2005
Sue McKemmish, “Traces: Document, Record, Archive, Archives.” In Sue McKemmish,
Michael Piggott, Barbara Reed, and Frank Upward. Archives: Recordkeeping in Society. Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.: Charles Sturt University, 2005.
Sue McKemmish, Shannon Faulkhead, and Lynette Russell. “Distrust in the Archives:
Reconciling Records.” Archival Science 11, no. 3/4 (2011): 211-239.
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