Mashantucket Pequot Museum Library and Archives Blog

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fresh Eyes in the Archives

Online access opens the doors of archives all over the world to armchair travellers and researchers. But, as more than 40 students who visited our Archives in the past month have found, the “real thing” can transport us to another time and place in a way that digital surrogates may not.

Visiting high school students brought keen eyes and a fresh perspective to documents such as an 18th century contract, in which a Shinnecock mother agrees to offer her son as an indentured servant when he reaches the age of six. Deciphering handwriting from 1755 and imagining the context and environment in which it was written made students feel like “detectives.”

After visiting a replica of Martha Hoxie “Matt” Langevin’s home in the Musuem, students “heard” the perseverance in her voice in the Archives, as they read some letters she wrote in the 1920s. Matt Langevin was a Mashantucket Pequot Tribal member and a beloved inspiration to subsequent generations of Pequots returning to the land.

Experienced and novice researchers alike are welcome in our Archives. Their visits provide a learning experience for both patron and archivist – and sometimes inspire the archivist to write some lyrics…

Pardon me miss, but I’ve never done this with a Real Live Page.
I’ve been on line but this is my first time with a Real Live Page.
Pardon me if gazing at these ancient leaves,
Fogs up my glasses and buckles my knees.
It’s so engaging to sit here while paging through time – it’s sublime,
With a Real Live Page.

(dig up the tune in your music archives, from Cy Coleman’s song, Real Live Girl )

No comments: