|321 Montgomery Street|
An interesting point raised was whether the OHA intended to digitise their collection so that their paper documents were available online. I had only ever considered the expense of doing such a project but Karen pointed out a major issue with this process. Not only would a lot of money go into the digitising project but also the resulting online database would drain the OHA of a major source revenue. The OHA depends on users and reference questions to provide them with an income and putting all of their collections online would mean a drastic decrease in paying customers and so paralyse the association. Tom Hunter, the Assistant Director and Curator of Collections, backed this up by giving examples of occasions where the paper copies come in useful and online resources are not enough. This all really gave me food for thought and the issue of freedom of information and intellectual property rights were raised. The OHA are not withholding information from patrons since it is accessible if you physically come to 321 Montgomery Street, the matter is more one of convenience for the user.
|One of the many photos in the collection|
Tom Hunter discussed some of the '3D' stuff and one thing in particular caught my attention. The CNY: The Good Life and CNY: Business Exchange both allocate their back pages to the OHA and provide them with an opportunity to showcase some of their items. Photographs and around 250 words are used to showboat interesting points of local history to snare the readers. This is not something I have seen before and struck me as a great opportunity to get the work out about a sometimes overlooked association.
BUT the most interesting point came with the Executive Director, Gregg Tripoli. He has a business background and had a career in management consultancy before retiring and subsequent un-retiring to take up the post at the OHA. Now, my brother is a management consultant and, if I am honest, I am not entirely sure what he does. This talk, however, elucidated some of the functions of such a profession and what it can do for museums and archives and I was enthralled.
|New shop front of OHA - previously these windows were bricked up |
(didn't quite scream 'come in, we're exciting and modern'!!)
Gregg summed up the purpose of these exhibits as "to instil pride in who we are and what we have accomplished." I do believe that this more than ticks the 'community' box that we librarians are so often banging on about, it ticks it and surrounds it in arrows and exciting luminous stickers. It is only by engaging the community in their past that we can effectively invest people in their shared future and ensure the survival of such collections.