Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Apr 27

Are you Prepared? MayDay - Saving Our History!

Posted on April 27, 2018 at 10:53 AM by Melissa Dalton

Every year, professionals in the archives, records management, museum, and library fields use MayDay as a reminder to review their institutional disaster preparedness policies and procedures. The Society of American Archivists (SAA) is a big promoter of this initiative, and has created a wonderful logo for this year (Fig 1). So what exactly is disaster preparedness? I’m so glad you asked! Disaster preparedness is a way to ensure the protection of records, visitors, facilities, and employees. The idea of designing and implementing a disaster preparedness plan is to mitigate damage when disaster strikes. Disasters can be small in nature, such as a small water leak to catastrophic, such as a tornado. However, in any situation, records and people could be in danger. Having a disaster preparedness plan allows an institution and its employees to stay focused, follow procedures previously established, and address any disaster in a responsible and efficient manner.

2018 MayDay logo (JPG)
Fig 1. SAA MayDay 2018 logo (Society of American Archivists)

Most disaster preparedness plans follow the same basic template. An organization establishes recovery policies, arrange for equipment, supplies, and storage spaces in case of emergency, and a contact list of other institutions (emergency personnel, facilities, and professionals) who can aid and support the institution in such cases. Here at Greene County Records Center & Archives, we have an established plan, and each employee has a copy of the Disaster Preparedness Manual with everyone’s contact information (including after hours), location of disaster kits (Fig 2), and County policies for emergency situations. However, at the end of the day, safety is our number one priority.

Greene County Archives Disaster Preparedness Kit (JPG)Greene County Archives Disaster Preparedness Kit (JPG)
Fig 2. Greene County Archives disaster kit

SAA reminders institutions, no matter the size or scope, to do something each May 1 to help “save the archives.” Review your policy, update contact lists, check storage areas for leaks and climate control issues, apply preventative measures to mitigate insect and rodent infestations – the list could go on. The goal is to be proactive and aware of your environment and what you can do to ensure the protection and preservation of records.

With this in mind, have you thought about your personal records? Or how about a plan in case of emergency in your home? Do you have emergency personnel information handy? Escape plan in case of fire? Does everyone know the best location in the home during a tornado? Are your important personal documents in a fireproof/waterproof safe? MayDay can be a time to review these important questions at home, too! I encourage all our readers to think about disaster preparedness in their daily lives as well. Answering these questions can be truly lifesaving.

Until Next Time...

Greene County Records Center & Archives
Society of American Archivists:


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