Archival Description Bee

17 Sep 2012 10:43 PM | Danielle Robichaud

An enthusiastic group of volunteers, ably led by Ruta Klicius (Vice-President, Culture, of the Lithuanian-Canadian Community, National Executive), met at the Lithuanian Museum-Archives in Mississauga last Saturday. This institution collects materials relating to Lithuanian Canadians from all over the country, but is currently without a dedicated member of staff. As a consequence, the work of the Museum-Archives falls on to the shoulders of volunteers. This group are fully aware of the significance of the materials they look after and understand the importance of making their existence more widely known. Nearly 50 of their collections are already described on Archeion and the event on Saturday was organized to prepare draft fonds- and collection-level descriptions for other materials held there.

Collage of Lithuanian Museum-Archives description bee

It was a pleasure to work with such a keen and dedicated group of people, all with their own areas of interest and expertise in relation to the records. For example, Giedra Rinkūnaitė-Paulionienė, pictured bottom left, was formerly the Principal of the Toronto Lithuanian School 'Maironis', whose records she was helping to describe. The picture in the centre shows the two Rutas and Giedra examining a photograph in the Scouts fonds of the Ruta on the left when she was a young woman. In the same fonds Ruta had the strange experience of recognizing her own handwriting in a thank-you letter that she had written in 1962!

With community records like these, it is vital to have the help of people who really understand the language of records and the context of their creation. It was wonderful to be involved with the process, listening to the group help each other out with the translation of Lithuanian words into English equivalents for the descriptions, sharing their memories and their delight at finding old friends and family members in amongst the records they were examining. Congratulations to Ruta for organizing the event and for her determination to share the stories of Lithuanians in Canada.

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