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Introducing the 2023 CoSA Awards Program CoSA-NHPRC SHRAB Award of Merit and Advocacy for Archives Recipients!

By Anne Ackerson posted 07-10-2023 02:19 PM


We continue our month-long celebration of CoSA's 2023 Award Recipients! This week we feature two CoSA-NHPRC SHRAB Award of Merit recipients and the Advocacy for Archives recipient. Congratulations!

CoSA-NHPRC SHRAB Award of Merit

South Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board

In 2022, the South Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) re-established its regrant award program with funding from the NHPRC State Board Programming Grant program to respond to the needs of smaller, rural, and traditionally-underserved archival repositories throughout the state. The 2022-2023 SC SHRAB Program allowed the board to fully fund twelve applications, several of which were to smaller repositories with holdings of no more than 500 cubic feet of material. Collections representing traditionally underserved populations included the lives of 19th century textile mill workers, 1850s African American genealogical resources in upstate South Carolina, 19th century German immigrants, as well as indentures and contracts from the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the South Carolina Historical Society, regrant funds were used to expand archival education and training to any interested citizen on the topics of donating materials to an institution and basic preservation methods.

With the regrant funding of these projects, SHRAB has been able to address the priorities in the SC SHRAB state plan, including: increased funding for South Carolina’s historical records, preserving and providing access to SC historical records; educating and training records custodians; and support archival program development and enhancement.

Pictured above: The Belton Area Museum Association was awarded $2041.60 to scan, inventory, and safely preserve items related to a prominent Belton family, including records related to the largest textile mill in the town. 

Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board

Along with maintaining its re-grant, consulting archivist, and archival training programs, USHRAB’s project for 2022 was to craft a new strategic plan for 2023–2027 to replace the plan that was set to expire in December of 2022. The 2023–2027 plan establishes an updated mission, a set of goals, and progress benchmarks. The new plan guides the drafting and executing of USHRAB programming for the next five years.

Crafting a new strategic plan was an opportunity for the Board to reflect on the previous five years of USHRAB programs and make changes in accordance with the shifting needs of cultural heritage groups in the state of Utah. The Board will continue to foster programming that supports archiving that follows institutional best practices, but the Board will also expand its support for community-based archives and what archival concepts mean for those groups. USHRAB’s Strategic Planning project can serve as a model for other SHRABs to reflect on their programming and approach the concept of archiving from community perspectives, rather than solely from top-down institutional models.

Advocacy for Archives

New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust
The New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust created Hear Our Story, a brief, but informative video that provides a strong and accessible statement about why government archival records are important, why we work to preserve and make these materials available, and why it is important to support these archival institutions. The video was professionally produced, with actor Stephen Lang as narrator, to communicate a message in a very understandable way, utilizing the talents and collections of the New York State Archives.

This kind of outreach helps all archival institutions, especially government archives communicate to the general public and to policy makers and resource allocators why the investment in the preservation and access of public records is essential. It makes a difference in the lives of all citizens, and this video powerfully makes that case.

View Hear Our Story 

The Council of State Archivists (CoSA) Awards Program acknowledges individuals, institutions, and programs that enrich and strengthen our nation's state and territorial archives. The Awards Program rewards innovative efforts and provides encouragement for the development of new and remarkable projects. By recognizing exemplary achievements, CoSA hopes to inspire others to make similar contributions to the field of government archives. The awards will be presented at the CoSA annual meeting in Washington, DC this July. The program is made possible with generous support from FamilySearch.