And so it begins..

It’s nearing the end of my first week at the Theatre Research Institute and it is already proving to be a great experience. After the week in DC, I was even more excited about my time at TRI. I made my way from Oklahoma to Columbus, finally arriving around 3 in the morning on Monday.

Nena picked me up Monday afternoon, finding me tired and sniffling with the cold I had developed. I quickly, however, forgot my sorry state as soon as we arrived at OSU. The campus here is beautiful (and incredibly huge). And very quickly we came upon my favorite place so far – the Thompson Library.

The Thompson Library at Ohio State University

As you can see, this library is quite a sight. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by 5 students performing a movement piece on the stairs. It was a very fitting way to start my fellowship assignment.

Throughout the rest of the day I was given a tour of the stacks, met more people than I can ever hope to remember their names, shown around Columbus, and talked with Nena to decide which collection I’d be working on. Which is…..

The Marcel Marceau Collection! The Francophile in me squeals with delight. I was looking forward to whatever collection I worked with – but I’m already quite taken with this collection. And first thing on Tuesday morning, I set up camp in the stacks to see what gems were in this collection. Here were my first impressions:

The wall of moving images           The boxes of mystery

I wish I could get a full-on picture of the Marceau wall, but the compact shelving doesn’t allow for very wide shots. There is more material, and I’ll be photo-documenting that later this afternoon. The creator of this collection, Marceau’s American agent, also sent an awesome detailed list of what the collection contains (Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!) However, the bulk of the boxes you see pictured above were simply labeled “Activity Files”. So I spent the next day going through these files, finding out what exactly was in these files. Turns out – an array of different materials. Programs, contracts, photographs, postcards, books, a coffee cup, negatives, faxes, correspondence, teaching materials, videotapes, cds, etc etc.

A box of activity files

One of these things is nearly obsolete.

I haven’t just been spending my time in the depths of the stacks though. I’ve also had the opportunity to tag along with Nena to a number of places. One exciting thing in particular was a meeting of the Special Collections Forum – a group consisting of members from all of the special collections and archives on campus who come together to talk bout different topics and issues concerning special collections and their ideas for solutions or collaboration. It really is amazing to see how the different collections and departments at OSU’s libraries work together to articulate and address things that will ultimately serve to make the entire institution be the best it can be.

Another point of interest was the visit to the remote storage facility yesterday. As the archive I work at is incredibly small, we have no need for offsite storage. So, in this really dorky way – it was actually really cool to see how these facilities can work. It was interesting to see the advantages, disadvantages, and logistics of this remote storage.

So, to sum this up: My assignment has been great so far. I have met a lot of friendly people and am getting to see parts of the archival profession I haven’t seen yet. I’m enjoying working on my collection and having these new experiences. Columbus is great so far and I’m looking forward to the weekend so I can explore more of it.

Until next time, dear reader.


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3 Responses to And so it begins..

  1. Looking forward to the next installment. Suggestion, Youtube virtual tour. Let us in on a typical day via short video bursts. 🙂

  2. Cecelia Brown says:

    Tara! This is so awesome! The Marcel Marceau Collection, what a wonderful opportunity! Your blog is great and I look forward to reading again next week. I love Jason’s idea of a virtual tour. All the very best.

  3. Charlotte Hart says:

    Oh my! Soooooo cool! When I was working in Denver, one of my regular customers at the Macaroni Grill (I can still remember her order) used to perform with Marcel Marceau and would tell me cool stories about that. Glad you are there safely and doing well!

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