The Massachusetts Studies Network

Seeking Professionals to respond to questions for "History News Community"

Hi everyone,

I'm working on a project for "History News"  and am seeking cultural heritage professionals who would like to write opinions about documentation and collaboration for the online History News Community. I am seeking people to answer the following questions:
How does your institution work to support the documentary record? Is collaborative collection development across cultural disciplines a good idea for your institution and community?

The online piece will appear in tandem with an article I wrote that will be released in the magazine's next issue.

The background:

The “Documentation Strategy” enables institutions to systematically gather and maintain materials that are vital to the story of civilization. It has been used by some archivists as a tool to support collection planning for the past three decades. Cultural heritage professionals working in museums, libraries, and archives can modify this approach to promote diverse partnerships, professionalism, and focused purpose, while increasing the likelihood of success in documenting cultural heritage.

Would you be interested in writing something up for this or do you know of anyone in your circles who may want to participate in the discussion? We need people to write up answers to the questions by November. If so, please contact me directly at

To get a better idea of how this works, you can see the last "History News" discussion at

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In a related thought; how many institutions have a policy to attempt to dialog with local history collectors to pass on their collections to the instition upon the collector's relocation on retirement, ill health, or "Call to Glory" ? I have seen far too many collections dispursed ( via eBay or wholesaled to antique dealers ) that should at, least been reviewed to see if they contained material suitable for accession. , In a related thought, how many historic societies are finally attempting to collect material from the "industrial & commerical era" of the post Civil War - Viet-Nam era ? It seems that all too many institutions ignored the events going on around them until the local factory left. We will, as likely as not, never see locally owned retail, commercial activities or industries return again.
Hi Nelson and other MA Studies Network members,

I think you will find that my article in History News addresses these issues. I absolutely agree that it should be a priority to speak with the public about the value of personal papers. I also agree that we need to diversify collecting efforts to ensure that all eras and subjects are appropriately documented. Widening our collaborative collecting partnerships allows us to share expertise and work to make sure repositories' holdings are thoroughly and accurately reflecting society. The article and the "History News Community" site where you can share your insight are now available. Please see

Best wishes,

Good Day Melissa; Here in Salem, Gordon College is almost ready to open a new museum in Salem'a Old Town Hall. I will be providing material & photos from my collection. Little was saved from Salem's industrial era, & it will be good to see my "junque" it go on display.  Also working on getting 4 books published by years end.  Also finding Gogle books is a good source of pre-WWI  industrial period info. Nelson Dionne

Hello Melissa;

Quite a bit of time has passed since I last wrote to you. Last year, I donated my 40 year collection of Salem material  to Salem State U's archive.  My 4th book will be out next month,

with more following ( health problems now require co-authors ).  A series of booklets will see the first title published late spring.  I see more interest in  post Civil War era commercial & industrial local history recently,  BUT,  too much time has passed, & little remains to be found to make up for all the decades of ignoring current material that should have been gathered  while current & available. ( Think local firms catalogs, advertising,  etc ). I have a huge collection that has but a tiny fraction of what it should have if all the decades of 

professionals had saved that which was going on around them.  Their failure to realize that today quickly becomes yesterday. is an ongoing problem.   If we , today, fail to think about how to tell our story's to  great grandchildren ,  and assemble & plan  our legacy now, it will not e done . 

Just a few thoughts.

Nelson  Dionne

PS: I'm currently working on a good dozen presentations about Salem history, inc.  work,  food,  military history, the Great Salem Fire, etc.




March 2017



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