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Every year, seemingly on cue, nature gets the message that we’ve had enough heat and humidity. October dawns and the mornings get crisper, the leaves begin their brilliantly-hued demise, and everything is suddenly pumpkin-spice flavored. October also ushers in the celebration of all things archival with the nationwide American Archives Month.

This year, the Virginia Caucus of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) adopted the theme of “Art in the Archives” to highlight the fine art, folk art, literature, poetry, sketches, and other artistic expressions that can be found in archives and special collections throughout the Commonwealth. Such materials can be housed in distinct art collections such as those in the archives of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, James Madison University, or the LVA’s own state art collection. Other examples can be found in non-art collections such as illustrated WWII-era letters from William & Mary or Virginia Union University’s model of the Liberty Ship SS Robert L. Vann.

Twenty institutions from around Virginia submitted images for use on the Virginia Archives Month 2016 poster. The handsome poster will be mailed to institutions, libraries, officials, and MARAC members around the state. Perhaps you’ll see a copy in your travels! If you would like you own copy, a downloadable PDF is found here.

In an effort to encourage a more participatory Archives Month, the MARAC Virginia Caucus created the REMIX | Art from the Archives contest. We hope that the contest will inspire literal and figurative out-of-the-box ideas for cultural heritage collections. After all, archives aren’t just about serious research—they can be about serious (or not so serious) art! Redaction poetry, GIFs, collages, coloring pages, memes, and other digital interventions are all ways to remix. Learn more about the contest here and submit something!

Today, October 5, the Library will be participating in Ask An Archivist Day. Archivists around the country will take to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. We’ll have LVA staff manning the Twitter helm all day, so send us all your questions, whether serious or silly. Be sure to use the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. You can direct it to @LibraryofVA or any of the other wonderful institutions that will be participating or even to no one in particular.

The Library of Virginia will be hosting behind-the-scenes tours on 12 October and 3 November. Other institutions are holding Archives Month-related events, too, so check the events calendar of an institution near you. If you’re in the Richmond region, October is also Artober, a month-long celebration of art and culture in central Virginia. Grab yourself a pumpkin spiced something and go explore a cultural heritage institution near you!

Vince Brooks

Local Records Program Manager

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