Now hear this! It’s Archives Month!

Now hear this! It’s Archives Month!

2013HearingHistoryIf you think that the Washington State Archives is only focused on maintaining and preserving paper records and collections, think again. The Archives also has a growing collection of audio recordings going back decades and relating to Washington’s state and local government.

In fact, these audio recordings are the focal point of a month-long celebration.  This marks the seventh straight year that the State Archives is celebrating Archives Month throughout October in Washington.

This year’s theme is “Hearing History,” and focuses on the goal of preserving Washington voices through oral histories and other audio recordings preserved by the State Archives and other institutions across the state.  Some of these audio recording collections, which can be found in our Digital Archives, include:
• House of Representatives committee meeting recordings from 1973-2002
• Senate floor recordings, 1971-2010
• Seattle City Council recordings of full council and committee meetings, starting in 1977
• Women in the Washington State Legislature, Oral History Project, 1980-83

In honor of the big month, most of the Archives’ regional branches have events on tap:

The Central branch in Ellensburg is having an open house this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The open house includes guided tours of the building.

The Northwest branch in Bellingham is hosting two free events:
• A Basics of Personal Digital Archiving brown bag event on Friday, Oct. 11, from noon to 1 p.m. Advance registration is required. Register by contacting or 360-650-3125.
• A Fall Family Open House on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors can view selected archival material and go on guided tours of the Archives.

The Puget Sound branch in Bellevue is presenting two free workshops on Saturday, Oct. 12:
• UNCOVERING THE HISTORY OF YOUR HOUSE IN KING COUNTY, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Archivists will explain how to find intriguing information from diverse sources that will enrich your understanding and appreciation for King County residents.
• THE BASICS OF DIGITAL ARCHIVING, 11 a.m. to noon. This workshop teaches how to safeguard personal treasures for future generations. Attendees will learn basic techniques for organizing and preserving their precious digital photographs, e-mail, recordings and more. Experienced archivists will present best practices for taking care of their digital items.

Since space is limited for both workshops, so you are encouraged to register now by contacting Puget Sound Regional Branch Archivist Mike Saunders at or 425-564-3950.

The Eastern branch in Cheney  is having its open house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. It will feature an oral history workshop, genealogy workshop, guided tours and an audio-visual exhibit.

The 2013 Archives Month poster (shown above) features photos of Washingtonians who were interviewed for various oral histories. In the upper left, State Historian (and former Aberdeen Daily World publisher) John C. Hughes interviews former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic at the Grays River Grange Hall in Wahkiakum County.  The photo in the upper right shows Pacific County resident Bert Harrison and his oral history transcript in 1975. The photos along the poster’s bottom feature (from left to right) Jazz musician, singer and band leader Leonard Gayton (1976), Lindsey Banich (2008), former state Sen. Mary Farquharson being interviewed for the Legislature’s Oral History Program (1983) and oral historian Esther Mumford interviewing LeEtta S. King in her Seattle home (1975).

This year’s Archives Month poster is free and will be available for pickup Monday at the front desk of the Secretary of State’s second-floor office in the Legislative Building, as well as the State Archives’ headquarters (1129 Washington St. SE in Olympia). It will be available later next week at the regional branches in Bellevue, Bellingham, Cheney and Ellensburg.  Supplies are limited, so don’t procrastinate if you want one.

Unfortunately, we are unable to mail out the poster. The good news is, this year’s poster can be downloaded here for free.

Archives Month is co-sponsored by the Washington State Archives, a division of the Office of Secretary of State.

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