UNC-Chapel Hill has received an $877,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will allow the Southern Historical Collection (SHC) at the Wilson Special Collections Library to further develop its transformative model for “community-driven archives.” Activities for the three-year grant, “Building a Model for All Users: Transforming Archive Collections through Community-Driven Archives,” will begin immediately.
Community-driven archives are created through partnerships between a community that wishes to document and preserve its own history and an archival repository. In many cases, these are stories of marginalized communities that past generations of historians and archivists did not consider significant enough to record or preserve.
As part of the grant, the SHC will hire a full-time Community Archivist and advance or complete four community archiving projects currently underway:
▪ The Appalachian Student Health Coalition
▪ The Eastern Kentucky African American Migration Project
▪ The Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance
▪ The San Antonio African-American Community Archive and Museum.
The SHC will develop a web-based resource to connect researchers with potential community archives projects. Additionally, the SHC will use the grant to share the information about its processes so other archives and communities can replicate them. This includes innovations such as the “Archivist in a Backpack,” which contains starter materials and instructions, protective document sleeves, a microphone and activity suggestions. It will also hold a publishing workshop so participants can reflect on and create a record of their own experiences.