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Archival Intern Shares Congregational Work

Posted on April 24, 2023

Notice anything new about the Dominican Sisters of Peace private pages website?  Log in and you will see the new web page featuring the Archives!  We listened and now we have a dedicated area for the Dominican Sister of Peace Archives. You can find all the information that you need and want to know about the archives in one place … just click here. This page is based on feedback from the survey that the archive’s staff conducted in March.

The survey was included in the newsletter and was open for responses from March 10, 2023, to March 18, 2023. The nine-question survey collected demographic information, names, and emails. The survey was voluntary. Thirty-five respondents provided information and feedback on how they are currently using the archive and what improvements they would like to see to increase use.

Findings

The findings indicated that 31.4% of the respondents were located in Columbus, Ohio. 42.9 % did not know that they could visit the archive to look at house annals, photos, or information about specific missions. 68.6 % did not know that they can use archival materials for writing reflections, homilies, and presentations. 42 % would like to see historical presentations virtually and/or live-streamed.

An oral history project has been under consideration by archival staff and based on the survey results we will need to provide additional information about the project. Only 25.7 % of the respondents stated that they would be willing to share their oral history with volunteers to record. 54.3 % of respondents stated that they may be willing to share their stories. Some of the additional feedback suggested that efforts should be made to interview older sisters of former communities who are aged 87 and older. Many wanted to know more about the project before committing to participate. Others wanted to know if they could review the recordings after the interview to make sure it focused on what they wanted to share. This feedback has provided archival staff with some of the concerns about the proposed project.

Some of the other suggestions included making the archive culture more user-friendly for “ordinary” people versus being reserved for scholars doing research. It was also suggested that there be a committee of sisters who would give the archive staff ideas and insight from their perspective. Others wanted to be able to send in requests for information for their current research while others wanted to know how the archives can be accessed by those who don’t live near an archive. One of the sisters requested information on the connection between Georgia O’Keefe and the sisters who ministered in New Mexico.

Outreach was another area where the sisters offered more suggestions. Additional suggestions included: “Visit the Archives Day” with small group visits at designated time slots, “Did You Know” stories,  sharing monthly events and presentations with advance notice, and a tour of the archives with an explanation of what items are in the archives. Some wanted published lists of what can and cannot be used for research and restored access to the files of the deceased. Another suggestion was to increase outreach to local areas and media and the development of displays would provide information to the community about the sisters.

Based on the survey feedback, some of the new features on the webpage include an “Ask an Archivist” section, the oral history project, virtual exhibits, the Archive’s hours, and a calendar of events.

Archival Intern Shawnee McMillian-Jackson

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