Advanced Archival Practicum Provides Real World Experience to Students

By Annie Tumino and Caitlin Colban-Waldron 

A collaboration between the Department of Special Collections and Archives and the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies provided students a special opportunity to gain real-world experience in the library’s archives during the summer 2022 term. 

SCA Students
Students review materials in the Barbara Rosenthal Collection.

Danica Stompor
Danica Stompor reviews materials in the “Ephemera” subseries of Rosenthal materials.

In the course, “Library Science 790.3 Advanced Archival Practice,” students developed advanced proficiency in archival appraisal, arrangement, and access through embedded fieldwork. Under the supervision of course instructor Caitlin Colban-Waldron and with the assistance of Head of Special Collections and Archives Annie Tummino, students engaged in a hands-on project from beginning to completion, processing portions of the archival collection of artist Barbara Rosenthal. The class was held in the Charles J. Tanenbaum Room, funded by the Pine Tree Foundation of New York for use as a special collections classroom. 

Headshot of Barbara Rosenthal
Barbara Rosenthal Photo by Rhys Votano

Barbara Rosenthal, a QC alumnus and multi-media artist, whose donated work and materials served as the basis for all practical coursework, was an invaluable resource to the students as both a unique and compelling subject and as a rich source of information and context for the materials themselves. By the end of the term, students completed processing work on specific sections of the larger collection and will be able to translate coursework into tangible skills and outcomes for inclusion in their professional résumés. 

The course is one of several initiatives developed by the Department of Special Collections and Archives to fulfill its strategic mission of “training the next generation of archivists.” Barbara Rosenthal’s collection is an exciting new addition to the archives, encompassing a lifetime of record-keeping, notes, drafts, versions, and materials for every project in many media, plus household, family, and moment-to-moment life-recording and professional correspondences.